Aussie lock Ryan McCauley has joined the Exeter Chiefs on a short-term deal from Super Rugby outfit, Western Force, and will help bolster the Devon club’s tight five options ahead of the new season
Aussie newcomer Ryan McCauley says he cannot wait to get stuck into life in the Gallagher Premiership after today joining the Exeter Chiefs on a short-term deal.
The imposing 6ft 8in, 18 stone, second-row forward joins the Chiefs from Aussie Super Rugby side, Western Force, and will provide a quality option up front for Exeter Director of Rugby, Rob Baxter, ahead of the new 2021/22 season.
McCauley arrived in Devon on Thursday following a lengthy flight from Perth and was quickly shown around Sandy Park, where he not only got to watch his new team-mates train, but also caught up with Baxter, who admitted he had sought the opinion of former Chief Greg Holmes on his new recruit.
It will be the 24-year-old’s first taste of competitive rugby outside his homeland, but it’s a challenge he says he is clearly relishing.
“I’m really looking forward to ripping in,” said the Sydney-born lock. “I’ve just watched the boys train and now I’m excited to get amongst it all and get involved with training and then the games.
“It’ll be my first experience of rugby over in these parts, but I’ve watched games of the Chiefs and I know it’s a very good and high standard over here. As I said, I’m looking forward to learning from the other tight forwards here because there is a great calibre of players here. Also, I just can’t wait to add to my skill-set around line-out, maul and scrum, especially as it used a lot more over here.”
McCauley played NRC with New South Wales regional side Country Eagles, before he was snapped up by the Waratahs. He would spent four years with them before moving to Western Australia and joining the Force, where he featured 14 times last season.
An Australian Schoolboys and Under-20s player, McCauley confirmed he also sought the views of Holmes before embarking on his move to the Chiefs.
“Greg pointed me in the right direction and told me a fair bit about the place and the club itself,” he added. “He spoke very highly of everything and of his time here. When I found out there was a chance of me coming over, I went straight to him and picked his brain. He was excited for me and now I’m here, I can see why he was so positive about the place.”
McCauley joins a Chiefs outfit who are currently in pre-season building up for the new campaign, which gets underway with a pre-season friendly against Munster on September 11, before the Premiership itself begins with a testing trip to Leicester Tigers a week later.
“Pre-season you have to do,” said McCauley. “It’s a necessary evil, but it is when you all get stuck into things as a group and it gives you that confidence to go into the new season. It builds camaraderie amongst the boys, simply because you share the same common hurt, but that’s what helps you when the season starts.”
Whilst his new team-mates endured the latest day of slog on the training field, McCauley was taking in his new surroundings at Sandy Park.
“I’ve heard lots about the Exeter fans and how passionate they are,” he said. “The stadiums over here are a lot more compact and the fans are right on you, but that’s something I like. Right now, I just want to get up to speed, amongst the boys, and then hopefully get amongst the action.
“The Premiership, I know, is a tough division. The perception of it has perhaps changed a fair bit over the last two or three years back home. It’s a lot more expansive these days and you only had to look at the games towards the end of last season, there were a lot of tight finishes and a lot of points scored.
“You can see it’s a lot more attacking and I can’t wait to be part of it all.”
Worrying injury list for Saracens
Saracens issued the following update regarding players who are looking to return from injury.
Will undergo surgery for an ankle injury sustained while playing for England against Australia, is expected to be out for 10-12 weeks.
Has returned to the club after picking up a knee injury last weekend at Twickenham, will return in 8-10 weeks.
Back in full training and available for selection imminently.
Will have surgery on Wednesday on the knee injury suffered last week, will miss the remainder of the 21/22 season.
Had successful surgery after dislocating his shoulder against Leicester, should be back playing in early 2022.
Will have surgery on Wednesday after injuring his arm against Harlequins in the Premiership Cup. Expected to be out for 3-4 months.
Is back in training after suffering a knee injury at the end of October.
Has returned to training following a shoulder injury sustained in the Storm match against London Irish in October.
Going through final stages of the return to play protocols following a concussion last week.
Source – Saracens
George Ford to join Sale Sharks
Sale Sharks are delighted to announce that England fly-half George Ford has signed a long-term contract to join the club ahead of the 2022/23 Gallagher Premiership season.
Oldham-born Ford, who has won 77 caps for his country, put pen to paper this morning on a three-year deal which will see him join Alex Sanderson’s squad in July 2022.
The Sharks Director of Rugby hailed the move as ‘massive’ – and CEO Sid Sutton said it demonstrates the ambition of everyone at Carrington to take the club to the very top.
Alex said: “George Ford is world class – one of the very best fly-halves in the game over the past five years. This season he’s probably playing the best rugby of his career so we’re getting him at the right time.
“I met him twice and we had the chance to show him around the ground and the fact that he’s taken this decision, in the form that he’s in, with Leicester doing so well, tells me that he believes in the ambition of this club, and in the culture that we’re building.
“He’s a northerner and his heart is very much in this area. He’s been away for some years now but he’s coming back to his spiritual home. His family is hugely important to him and I know that his life outside rugby has played a part in this move.
“The exciting thing for me is that he’s 28 years old, and he’s coming here in the form of his life. We aspire to be a major force in the Premiership and in Europe too and we’ve got one of the world’s best flay-halves in his pomp.
“It’s massively exciting but not just because of how talented he is. When I’ve spoken to him it’s clear that he wants to help us bring the younger players in our squad on. He has so much desire to lift the people around him and that’s the kind of person I want here.
“It’s a massive boost for the club and it’s a big indication of what we’re all about and where we’re trying to get to.”
George Ford made his debut for Leicester Tigers in 2009, becoming the youngest rugby union player to make his professional debut in England, at just 16 years and 237 days.
After winning a Premiership title with Tigers in 2013, he moved to Bath, winning the Gilbert Golden Boot as the top-points scorer and winning LV= Young Player of the Year, before returning to Leicester for the 2018-19 season.
In total he has made 79 appearances for Leicester Tigers and is the league’s leading points scorer this season with 107 points to his name.
He made his England debut in 2014 and has since gone on to win 77 caps. He played a key role as Eddie Jones’s men reached the World Cup final in 2019.
Sharks CEO Sid Sutton said: “We’re just at the start of an exciting new era for Sale Sharks and this demonstrates the ambition of everyone at the club to push forwards and achieve great things.
“The club culture is based on the values of togetherness, pride, humility, fearlessness and passion and George has all of that and more. We’re a club with aspirations and good people involved pushing forwards both on and off the pitch and he wants to be a part of that.
“It’s massive for everyone involved with the club – players, staff, board and our supporters too.”
Commenting on the announcement George added: “I’m excited about what the future holds – playing rugby in the North West, representing the club where I am from and helping drive Sale Sharks forward.”
Images & Content from Sale Sharks Rugby
Tigers issue statement on George Ford statement
Leicester Tigers can confirm that George Ford has indicated to the club that he will not be activating an option in his contract to remain beyond the current season.
The 28-year-old made his senior debut in 2009, while still a member of the Tigers Academy, and made 40 senior appearances for the club before leaving to join Bath Rugby in 2013.
He returned to Leicester in 2017 and has played 73 games during the past four seasons, to total 113 appearances for the club to date.
Leicester Tigers Head Coach Steve Borthwick said: “George has made a personal decision, which he informed us of earlier this week, which means this will be his final season in Leicester.
“I have had the pleasure of working with him for a number of years, with England and now here at Tigers, and I am grateful to have had that privilege.
“We are fortunate to have the best following in rugby, who have been able to enjoy watching George represent their club for many years and I am sure they will echo me in thanking him for his contribution to Tigers.”
“There are still a lot of games to be played in this season and George is fully committed to finishing his time at Leicester Tigers in front of big crowds at Mattioli Woods Welford Road, which our supporters can be proud of and to share in success with them.”
George Ford added: “It has been the most difficult decision of my career.
“I am proud and grateful to represent this great club at Leicester and I will give my all for the rest of my time at Tigers.”
Leicester Tigers will make no further comment on the matter at this time.
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