Exeter Chiefs have moved to strengthen their options at hooker by agreeing to sign Newcastle front-row Kyle Cooper on a loan deal.
Exeter Chiefs have moved to strengthen their options at hooker by agreeing to sign Newcastle Falcons front-row Kyle Cooper on a loan deal. With club captain Jack Yeandle sidelined with a broken arm, plus Jack Innard also out following shoulder surgery, director of rugby Rob Baxter has wasted little time in addressing the issue by bringing in the 30-year-old South African until the end of March.
Signed in the summer of 2016 from Super Rugby side the Sharks, Cooper’s arrival will also help supplement any potential call-ups or rest period for England international Luke Cowan-Dickie.
“People will be aware Jack Yeandle has picked up a pretty significant arm injury with the break in his fore-arm,” said Baxter.
“Jack Innard is also going to be out for around 12 weeks following a shoulder operation, plus Luke Cowan-Dickie will have to have an EPS rest in the next three weeks.
“At the same time, we’re not too far away from the start of the Six Nations and we have to anticipate that Luke will more than like be involved with that too, so when you look at all those factors, we’re starting to thin out a little.
“Obviously, Elvis Taione has stepped in and been a proven performer for us in the past. Jordon Poole has come in and looks like he will be a decent option too, but at the same time we can’t leave ourselves short in that scenario. We therefore looked around and it soon became apparent Kyle could be made available on a three to four month loan period from Newcastle.
“I spoke with Dean Richards [Newcastle’s director of rugby] and between us we agreed the loan period, subject to Newcastle not having any major injury issues of their own. We know Kyle is a proven Premiership performer, having seen him in the past, plus also when he’s played against us previously. As I said, we think this is the right thing to do to keep us at the strength levels we need for the challenges ahead over next few months.”
Richards, meanwhile, added: “This is a great opportunity for Kyle to play Premiership rugby, and we look forward to his return later in the season.
“We are in the fortunate position of having a number of options at hooker at the present time, including Kyle. Jamie Blamire is an outstanding academy product who has really stepped up and made a big impact on the first-team stage, George McGuigan is a proven performer who is one of our co-captains and Charlie Maddison has shown up well since arriving from Jersey.
“We wish Kyle all the best for his time down at Exeter, where I’m sure he will give a good account of himself.”