TRANSFER NEWS | Exeter Chiefs sign England U20 superstar - Ruck

TRANSFER NEWS | Exeter Chiefs sign England U20 superstar

Exeter Chiefs have bolstered their back three options with the signing of highly-rated back Josh Hodge from Gallagher Premiership rivals Newcastle Falcons.

The 20-year-old is Baxter’s fifth addition to his squad, joining the likes of Jonny Gray, Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, Aaron Hinkley and Corey Baldwin, in making the switch to Sandy Park.

Equally adept on the wing or at full-back, Chiefs’ Director of Rugby, Rob Baxter, has spoken of his delight at landing Hodge, who as well as being capped at both Under-18 and Under-20 level for England, also took up an apprentice role in Eddie Jones’ England squad preparing for their Six Nations campaign earlier this year.

“Some people will know of Josh having played here with England Under-20s [against France], but they may not have seen him play as much for Newcastle” said Baxter.

“He’s just one of those guys that you can see bags of potential in him. He’s a good goalkicker; genuine pace; a talented ball player and some who looks like he has lots of physical development still in him.

“For us, we see him as being that ideal fit in the back three for where we are at this moment in time. He can play full-back or wing, which is great, and when you look around the Premiership at young players, we have spent a lot of time looking at young players and developing young players, and we feel we are really good at it. We see Josh as someone who could come here and thrive for ten years.”


An England XV for the 2023 Rugby World Cup

This is how we have predicted it might play out…

15. Josh Hodge

  • Current number of caps: 0
  • Age at the start of RWC 2023: 23

One of England’s most exciting upcoming talents, the fullback is built in the same mould as All Black Damian Mckenzie. Safe under the high ball and blessed with incredible pace, expect him to play a key role for Newcastle Falcons in the Championship this season before returning to the Premiership ready to make a bid for international honours.

14. Joe Cokanasiga

  • Current number of caps: 9
  • Age at the start of RWC 2023: 25

Eddie Jones summed up what Joe Cokanasiga brings to the party when asked about his first inclusion in the England set up back in 2017. ‘He’s big and he’s fast,’ said the England coach. He’s not wrong and we expect him to be hitting his peak in 2023.. 

13. Joe Marchant

  • Current number of caps: 3
  • Age at the start of RWC 2023: 27

 A black belt in karate and also a former England schools finalist in gymnastics which would suggest the centre is blessed with power and poise! Has been involved in Eddie Jones’s squad in the build-up to the 2019 Rugby World Cup and is someone we’d expect to step up heading into the 2020 Six Nations and beyond.

12.Owen Farrell

  • Current number of caps: 83
  • Age at the start of RWC 2023: 32

Will be one of the sides elder statesmen, captaining the squad at a second straight Rugby World Cup. Will be the goalkicker, allowing the talented Marcus Smith to run the show from 10.

11. Ollie Thorley

  • Current number of caps: 0
  • Age at the start of RWC 2023: 27

 A World Rugby U20 Championship winner in 2016, Thorley has pace, power and an eye for the try line. Was unlucky not to be considered for the 2019 squad but if he continues to score lots of tries and constantly improves he could be a key player for England in four years time.