Statement: Exeter Chiefs confirm the signing of England internationals impressive brother - Ruck

Statement: Exeter Chiefs confirm the signing of England internationals impressive brother

Exeter Chiefs have recruited tighthead prop Jimmy Roots ahead of the 2024/25 season.

Roots is the younger brother of current Chief and England international Ethan, and he joins the Chiefs squad from RFU Championship side Ealing Trailfinders.

After two seasons with the second-tier champions, Jimmy is looking forward to the prospect of testing himself in a top-flight environment.

“Signing for Chiefs has been pretty daunting as well as exciting. It’s a challenge and a big step up, but it’s one that I’m excited for. Being back with my brother is really cool, but I’m looking to make the most of my opportunity and take it with both hands.

“Speaking to Rob and the other coaches, there is good aspirations here to build something special, and I think that’s shown in the team they’ve picked every week with a lot of young boys coming through. So, hopefully I can earn a game at a time then see where it takes me.”

The 24-year-old front rower was born and raised in New Zealand before moving to England to pursue his rugby career. The younger Roots’ sporting journey has so far included time spent with Blues U20s, East Coast Bay and North Harbour.

He was signed with North Harbour in the National Provincial Championship before joining Londoners, Ealing in 2021. 

While older brother Ethan now has international caps for England, Jimmy has represented his country of birth, New Zealand, at U20s level.

Director of Rugby Rob Baxter is intrigued to see how the young front rower develops amongst the Chiefs squad with some experienced props under the leadership of scrum coach Ross McMillan and forwards coach Rob Hunter.

“We knew we were making a few changes in our front row department, so we’re always on the lookout for young players who we feel can develop and grow and that have their best years ahead of them.

“Obviously, getting to know Ethan, has been a bonus as we can see the impact that he has had. Jimmy came to the UK with a very good reputation in New Zealand having represented their U20s, so he’s a player that we’ve been keeping an eye on for a while.

“We’re pleased with the rugby he’s been playing and the potential he has displayed. We feel he’s a guy that can come in to be here for a period of time, where he can develop into a guy who drives the team forward.”

Nigel Owens Reveals the Top 5 Rugby Stadiums with the Best Atmosphere

Legendary referee Nigel Owens has handpicked three stadiums where he experienced the most electrifying atmospheres during his career, surprisingly omitting his beloved Principality Stadium in Cardiff from the list.

However, Owens prefaced his ranking with an explanation:

“It doesn’t really matter what game is taking place at the Principality Stadium, there is just something special about it. It’s the way it’s built, where it is, the atmosphere that those factors combine to generate.

“Judgement Day is great, European Cup matches there are the same and obviously top internationals are on another level. To me, that is the best stadium in the world but I will leave that out of my selections below because I am, of course, Welsh and maybe a little biased!”

Explore his entire top five below

#5. Stade de France, Paris

The first of the international grounds on our list of the best stadiums in world rugby, the atmosphere in Stade de France mirrors their national team: boisterous and joyful when on the front foot, but quiet and frail when behind.

Owens wrote: “When you’re inside the Stade de France it’s an incredible stadium.

“The atmosphere is up there with the best and I absolutely loved refereeing there but the actual location of the stadium is not the best, there isn’t a lot going on around it, it’s the total opposite to Cardiff in many ways.”

He added: “I did the 2018 game here when Johnny Sexton kicked a 45 metre drop goal after 46 phases to win the match and set Ireland on their way to a Grand Slam that year. France had scored the only try of the match to take the lead in the 72nd minute and the crowd were going crazy, it was so loud and La Marseillaise was being sung.

“But Ireland were just relentless in that closing passage leading to the drop goal. People talk about the pressure on Sexton, well they want to know what it’s like refereeing at that stage of a match! You know any decision you make is probably going to decide the outcome. You can’t afford to get it wrong.

“But that stadium is absolutely rocking when France are hitting their straps. A special place to referee.”

#4. Thomond Park, Limerick

Owens wrote: “For me, few things beat Thomond Park on a European Cup weekend. That is an experience that should be on every rugby fan’s bucket list. When there are 28,000 in there for games against the likes of Toulouse, Leicester or Clermont – all of which I’ve refereed there – then it doesn’t half take some beating.”

He added: “Refereeing Leinster v Munster in Dublin was one thing, but refereeing the same fixture at Thomond Park is something else entirely. It was a very difficult game to referee because of the intensity of the crowd and the players responding to that.

“When you are in that stadium and all those thousands of supporters are singing Fields of Athenry, it really is breathtaking.”

Credit: Karmacomatic