BREAKING: Exeter Chiefs confirm the signing of international forward - Ruck

BREAKING: Exeter Chiefs confirm the signing of international forward

Exeter Chiefs have bolstered their front-row options with the signing of Georgian international Nika Abuladze.

The 27-year-old loosehead prop is due to arrive at Sandy Park later this month, once his commitments at international level are completed.

His arrival will provide a significant boost to Director of Rugby, Rob Baxter, not just for the remainder of this season, but for the next two years as well.

Abuladze will become the first-ever Georgian player to feature for the Devon club, but he comes highly recommended and will offer sizeable bulk, tipping the scales at 122kg and standing at 6ft 1in.

Welcoming the Tbilisi-born forward, Baxter said: “I’m expecting him to do well. Anyone who wants to know more about him only needs to look at the Autumn internationals, where he played a huge part in some significant games for Georgia.

“The one that probably stands out the most is the Wales game, where he came on in the second half and really put the pressure on at scrum time.

“Having watched him play, I’ve been really impressed with him. He’s like any Georgian, he’s good around the set-piece, but he’s also more mobile than people will think and he’s a very strong ball-carrier.

“Obviously, there will be one or two challenges around the language, but he does understand English pretty well. When I spoke to Rob Hunter (forwards coach) about him, all he asked was can he bend over and push and get us up the field to which I said ‘yes’, so he ticks all the right boxes.”

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Exeter Chiefs set to sign FIVE, including 21 stone tighthead-prop

Below, we take a look at five players who’ve ben linked with a move to Sandy Park.

#1. Ehren Painter

According to The Rugby Paper, Chiefs’ Director of Rugby, Rob Baxter, may adhere to his existing approach of recruiting players with potential for development when seeking a replacement for Williams.

The reported target for the role is Northampton’s 24-year-old powerhouse Painter, who weighs a stunning 21 stone.

Born in London, Painter represented England at age-grade level. Having played for England Under-16s, Under-17s, and Under-18s, he was selected for the Under-20s for the Six Nations and World Rugby Under-20s Championships in France in 2018.

Exeter Chiefs player Harry Williams attacks Northampton Saints player Ehren Painter during the Gallagher Premiership rugby game between Northampton Saints and Exeter Chiefs at Franklins Gardens, Northampton on June 6th – PHOTO: Steve Bond/PPAUK

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