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Scotland and Exeter prop Alec Hepburn to join Scarlets

By Neil Fissler
Exeter Chiefs' Alec Hepburn during the Investec Champions Cup match between Exeter Chiefs and Glasgow Warriors at Sandy Park on January 13, 2024 in Exeter, England. (Photo by Bob Bradford - CameraSport via Getty Images)

Scotland and former England loosehead Alec Hepburn will become the latest international to leave Exeter Chiefs when his contract runs out at the end of the season and will join team-mate Jack Dunne at the Scarlets.

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Hepburn, who has played over 180 games for the Chiefs, hasn’t played a game for them since starting the defeat at the hands of Saracens at the end of January and was widely tipped to be on his way when his contract ran out.

He had been touting himself for a return to Australia but has opted to remain in the UK and cross the Severn Bridge following his shock call-up by Scotland boss Gregor Townsend earlier this year.

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Hepburn – who was born in Perth, Australia and qualifies for Scotland through his dad – revealed during the Six Nations his deep-rooted ancestry links to the SRU after his great uncle Charles Hepburn sold a whiskey firm, Red Hackle, for £2 million (£47,000,000) in 1959.

With some of the sale proceeds, Hepburn, a teetotaller, paid £10,000 (£235,000 in modern terms) for Murrayfield to get undersoil heating after a match against Wales he had been looking forward to a year earlier was postponed because of a frozen pitch.

The Scarlets have been looking to strengthen their front row and have been offered Ruan and JP Smith, along with Ruan Dreyer, from URC rivals the Lions in the last couple of weeks.

Hepburn began his rugby journey with Henley Hawks, moving on to Wasps RFC’s academy. During the 2013–14 season, he was loaned to London Welsh in the RFU Championship. In 2014, seeking a Super Rugby career, Hepburn requested release from Wasps and returned to Perth. Back home, he played for Cottesloe and represented Perth Spirit in the National Rugby Championship, before returning to Gallagher Premiership with Exeter in 2015.

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