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Recent England A pick Rusi Tuima signs Exeter contract extension

By Liam Heagney
Rusi Tuima in action with England A in February (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)

Recent England A team pick Rusi Tuima has agreed to a deal that will keep him at Exeter until the summer of 2026. The 23-year-old lock, who until this season played at back row, is part of the new guard making rapid progress at the Chiefs.

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He has started in nine of his 11 Gallagher Premiership appearances this term, helping the team into fourth place with five rounds of matches left before the play-offs.

A statement read: “Exeter Chiefs second row Rusi Tuima has committed his future to the club, signing a contract extension to 2026. The flamboyant forward transitioned from back row to second row at the outset of the 2023/24 season and has hit his stride in his new position.

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“Previously, he spent time on loan to Plymouth Albion and friendly appearances with Exeter Braves gave the Fijian-born forward an opening insight into senior rugby.

“It was Chiefs forwards coach Rob Hunter who suggested he transition from the back row to a second row berth and, having soaked up knowledge from teammates and coaches alike, Tuima hasn’t looked back.

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“Tuima joins second row partner Lewis Pearson as well as backs Harvey Skinner and Immanuel Feyi-Waboso in being the first names to be announced as remaining at Sandy Park for next season.”

Tuima said: “This season has made me want to stay all the more, because of the boys here. It’s an exciting group we have got and the things we have accomplished have been amazing, and I’ve loved every second of learning and growing alongside these boys.

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“I have grown up in the Chiefs system, so I have been here since I was 13. To do it all with some of my best mates, and boys I have grown up with like Lewis Pearson and Richard Capstick, has meant it’s been a hell of a ride so far, so I’m looking forward to getting stuck in for the seasons to come.

“From Rob Hunter having the conversation with me about moving into the second row in pre-season, I think he’s made me realise my strengths in the game and what I can do to get better. I’ve started that journey here and I want to continue it here to be the best player I can be here at Chiefs.”

Director of rugby Rob Baxter added: “This is great news for us. Rusi is a player who is really starting to break through this year. We have known for a long time that he’s had bags and bags of potential, but he has really taken off this season with us promoting him into the starting line-up in the second row.

“We have got to credit Rob Hunter and Ross McMillan for all the work they have done with Rusi around playing in his new position as he has very much become one of our front-line players now.

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“Rusi is showing an awful lot of qualities of a modern, big, ball-carrying second row forward and he is having lots of impact in a very important way for us in a team that is playing very well.

“He has been rewarded with a recent call-up into the England A team which I think was much deserved. As things stand now, I see him as a young man with a really bright future, so I’m really pleased that he has committed to the club for the long term.

“Hopefully he can be one of those players that helps us move forward and potentially win trophies in the future.”

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