Exeter Chiefs Sign replacement for departing England star - Ruck

Exeter Chiefs Sign replacement for departing England star

Exeter Chiefs have confirmed the signing of Northampton Saints prop Ehren Painter. Chiefs have been able to bring the 24-year-old in immediately, and the timing could not be better.

Exeter prop Harry Williams has been side-lined with a significant knee injury until the end of the season, and is set to leave in the Summer, making this a perfect time for Painter’s arrival.

Williams suffered the injury in the 40-5 defeat to Harlequins, as Exeter Chiefs were convincingly beaten in ‘Big Game 14’ at Twickenham Stadium. Painter is excited with the move to Devon, and is ready to make an immediate impact.

The 24-year-old tight-head prop has played 84 times for the Saints, since graduating their Academy and making his debut against Saracens in 2018. A hulking presence in the front row, Painter weighs in at 133kg, and at 6ft 3in, he can’t be missed, not even from ‘Row Z’.

“I’m looking forward to the move and being part of what should be a really exciting end to the season,” Painter said on Exeter Chiefs official club website.

“Exeter are a club I have huge respect for. Having come up against them numerous times in the past, you know the threat they pose in terms of their pack of forwards.

“Strengths of what they do well are what I like to think I have within my own game. Going down there, testing myself in a new environment, I think it will be good for my game. Having a new outlook on things, learning from different coaches, playing with different players, it’s all going to add to my game.

“At the same time, I want to say a huge than-you to everyone at the Saints. I’ve loved my time at the club and enjoyed some very special memories over the years. I’ve made lifelong friends and I will always be grateful for the opportunities they have given me.

“As I said, this is a new opportunity for me and it’s one I want to take with both hands. It’s an exciting move for me and with plenty still to play for this season, I hope I can add something to the squad over the coming weeks.”

Chiefs’ Director of Rugby Rob Baxter, is excited with Painter’s arrival. Baxter knows how impressive the prop can be, and recognises the gap he has to fight for in the Chiefs front row.

“Knowing that Harry would be leaving at the end of the season, we’ve being keeping a close eye on the tight-head market,” said Baxter. “Obviously, we’ve got the likes of Marcus Street, Patrick Schickerling and Josh Iosefa-Scott already here, but we had already started talking to Ehren and Northampton about him potentially joining earlier than the start of next season.

“That kind of lined-up with plans Northampton had as well, so we started the procedure before Harry got injured. Now that he has picked up that injury, it works doubly well for us to get him here as soon as possible. If everything goes to plan, he should be with us at the end of this week and then we’ll get him registered and available for the remainder of the season.

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

With plenty of experience within the Premiership, Baxter expects strong performances from Painter, with lots of competition in the Chiefs front row.

“He’s got a bit of experience, probably without playing the game time he would have liked,” added Baxter. “At the same time, he’s 24, he’s a big guy and his super strength is scrummaging. There is no mystery in the fact that we want to add something in that area. Obviously, there are things he needs to work on, but there are things we can help him with as well.

Rob Baxter, Director of Rugby of Exeter Chiefs looks dejected after losing during the Gallagher Premiership Rugby Match between Bristol Bears and Exeter Chiefs at Ashton Gate on 20 May. Photo: Tom Sandberg/PPAUK

“It’s the same with every player as they change clubs. Sometimes that new challenge can be good for them, so I think he will fit in very well and look forward to getting him down here and cracking on with things.”

“Future remains unclear” – 5 huge Premiership transfers that could still happen

With a number of contracts of huge stars coming to an end at their clubs there could be some huge deals still to be done in the next few weeks and months.

#1. Tom Curry to Leicester Tigers

Tigers are playing the long game with their bid to sign England flanker when his contract at Sale Sharks expires at the end of the season.

Holding a strong interest from 2021, Steve Borthwick was initially putting in the hard yards to try and make Curry move to Welford Road.

Curry became the youngest player to start an international for England in 90 years when he made his senior bow in Argentina on the 2017 summer tour.

Sharks remain adamant that their academy product is going nowhere and RUCK understands he is close to signing a contract extension at the AJ Bell Stadium.

However, Tigers will continue to wait in the wings in case his circumstances change with no contract extension yet signed.

Tom Curry of England  during the Autumn Nations International Series match between England and South Africa at Twickenham, London on 26 November 2022 (Photo: Tom Sandberg/PPAUK)