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Rob Baxter to boost Exeter Chiefs squad with forward signings

By Paul Smith
Rob Baxter is seeking to add to his forward pack (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Exeter Chiefs are reported to be on the verge of making additions to their squad for the new Gallagher Premiership season.

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To date director of rugby Rob Baxter has added only Irish centre Sean O’Brien and Kiwi prop Josh Iosefa-Scott to his squad while nine players have left Sandy Park.

But according to Devon Live, Baxter has suggested two new forwards will shortly join the Chiefs.

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A number of sources indicate that 6ft 8 Western Force second row Ryan McCauley is likely to be one of the new faces joining the English powerhouses’ during pre-season.

The former Australia U20 international previously spent three seasons in Super Rugby with Sydney-based Waratahs before crossing to Perth to join Western Force on a one-year contract which expires shortly.

In the short-term, the 24-year-old would provide cover for Jonny Hill who will make a delayed return to club action following his involvement with the British & Irish Lions.

Including any enforced quarantine periods, England’s Lions representatives are guaranteed ten weeks away from match action following the end of the tour, meaning Hill will not be seen in an Exeter shirt until at least mid-October.

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Hill plus Scotland locks Jonny Gray and Sam Skinner are also likely to miss significant parts of the club season due to call-ups to the autumn internationals and Six Nations campaigns.

Exeter launch their Premiership campaign on Saturday September 18 with a tricky-looking trip to Welford Road to face Leicester.

Among the players to leave Sandy Park are Wales internationals Tomas Francis and Corey Baldwin plus long-serving winger James Short and Elvis Taione.

The Chiefs have also reinforced their long-standing link with Greene King IPA Championship neighbours Cornish Pirates through sending six highly-rated young players to Mennaye Field on loan.

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These include second row Lewis Pearson, prop Patrick Schickerling, lock Cory Teague and centre Tommy Wyatt who played for the second-tier club last season plus prop forwards James Kenny and Alfie Petch.

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