According to the latest reports, two of the Exeter Chiefs’ most powerful forwards are set to leave Sandy Park at the end of the season.
British and Irish Lions and England star Jonny Hill and Scottish lock / flanker Sam Skinner are both reportedly set to leave the Chiefs as Exeter struggles to keep his impressive squad together under Gallagher’s new salary cap Â£ 5million Premiership which has been put together this season.
The reduced cap was agreed to by the 13 Premiership rugby clubs in response to professional rugby which suffered a huge financial blow at the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic as fans were barred from the stadiums.
Skinner, 26, born and raised in Exeter, was chosen by the Chiefs academy after he was spotted playing for the Taunton Titans and made his first 92 appearances for the club. Since making his Scotland debut in 2018, he has made 13 international appearances.
The Daily Telegraph reports that Skinner has agreed to the terms to join the United Rugby Championship Edinburgh Rugby team next season.
Meanwhile, Jonny Hill, who has 10 caps in England, is one of Exeter’s great successes in recent years, having joined the Devon club from West Country rivals Gloucester in 2015.
Since joining the Chiefs, Hill, 27, has established himself as one of the league’s most dynamic second-places, making 107 appearances for the club.
Hill is now said to be the main target for Sale Sharks rugby manager Alex Sanderson, who is looking to replace South African lock Lood de Jager, who is reportedly set to leave AJ Bell stadium at the end of the season, and l ” imposing JP du Preez who will join the Glasgow Warriors in 2022/23,
Speaking midweek, Chiefs rugby director Rob Baxter discussed issues surrounding trying to put together a competitive squad to compete for the Heineken Champions Cup in the coming seasons, with many top clubs France’s 14 and United Rugby Championship now have larger budgets, with national unions providing some of the salaries of the best players in the RCU.
Baxter said: âThere’s no doubt – and other DORs will probably say that if they’re honest – if you look at how difficult it is to put together a team in two years, compared to some of the teams that you see hitting in Europe, especially in your best Irish provinces and your best French clubs, it’s going to be tough â,
âYou suddenly talk about a half cap, almost half the amount spent on the team.
âIt’s a big chunk of what you spend on your team, so realigning salary expectations will be a challenge.
âIt will also make other markets more attractive, so that the Welsh and Scottish areas for your doubly qualified players will become more attractive. There’s going to be a significant change in that picture, possibly a bigger change than people are really anticipating. “
Last season, Exeter saw Welsh internationals Tomas Francais and Alex Cuthbert leave the club for Ospreys without replacing them with players of similar experience and quality, calling in New Zealander Josh Iosefa-Scott to cover a tight head while relying on the academy to cover the wing.
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