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The Exeter 'problem' every time they bring over an Australian

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Simon Galloway/PA Images via Getty Images)

Exeter boss Rob Baxter had given his verdict on Scott Sio, their new signing who has started twice in recent weeks after a dozen seasons at the Brumbies in Australia. The 31-year-old arrived in England having played three times for the Wallabies in this year’s Rugby Championship and while his Test career is supposed to now be over, the Chiefs DoR has quipped that it wouldn’t surprise him to see the 74-cap loosehead play again for his country.

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It has happened before, the situation of Exeter signing a player they thought was finished at international level only to be in such good form with the Chiefs that a Test-level recall eventually materialised. Scrum-half Nic White is a prime example and Baxter chuckled when asked if Sio could similarly find his way back into Dave Rennie’s plans.

“Oh geez, this is the problem every time we bring an Australian over they end up getting back in the international team,” he suggested with a smile. “Their international career is supposed to be over and they are supposed to be fully concentrating on us.

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“Listen, I hope whatever he dreams will happen and that is the most important thing to say. The reality of that means that he will be playing very well and we can only benefit from that.”

It was mid-August when an unspecified length long-term deal was agreed by Exeter for Sio to quit Super Rugby for the Gallagher Premiership and after starts the past two weekends versus Gloucester and Northampton, Baxter had enjoyed what he has so far seen from the vastly experienced front-rower.

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“He has been fantastic, his set-piece has been very good, you can see how powerful a ball carrier he is, a good guy around the dressing room. He is already talking to some of the younger props, interestingly enough tightheads. He is talking a lot to our tightheads about things they can do and how they can help with the scrum.

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“He is a good all-round guy, we knew that when we brought him in. That was one of the reasons for bringing him in and he is a very good player as well. I can only see him improving and getting better, having a bigger influence on the team.”

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