Exeter Chiefs have confirmed the signing of prop Josh Iosefa-Scott from Mitre 10 club Waikato.
The Kiwi has arrived in Britain already to get settled in the south-west ahead of the 2021-22 season for the Chiefs, where he will fill the shoes of Tomas Francis.
At 6’4″ and tipping the scales at 135kgs, Iosefa-Scott was the player Exeter identified after Francis’ exit to the Ospreys led them to seek new competition for Harry Williams.
“People will be aware that with Tomas Francis moving on at the end of the season, we were assessing not only the market, but also our own players in terms of what we do next,” explained Chiefs’ director of rugby, Rob Baxter.
“Obviously, we have Harry Williams who is already here, along with Marcus Street who we feel is becoming more experienced and more mature all the time. Behind them, we’ve got the likes of Alfie Petch, Matt Johnson and Patrick Schickerling, but I still felt we were lacking that little bit of experienced edge.
“We’ve taken a good look at Josh, who whilst not being what you’d describe as a real frontliner somewhere else, is someone who we feel can really bring something to the squad. As people will know, we’ve had great success in the past looking at players of what you would call that Championship level and then developing them onto real quality Premiership and international players.
“As I said, we watched quite a bit of footage of him and we liked what we saw. We’ve been lucky that we’ve had the opportunity to get him over here earlier than we thought and now we’re going to work hard with him in developing those areas we feel need a bit of work.
“Already he’s settled in well and he’s up and running in terms of his training, so having that extra couple of months preparation time with him will be invaluable for us going into next season.
“Looking at him, talking with him, we feel it’s a really good fit for both parties and we see those raw materials in his play – a bit like we saw with Franny and Harry Williams – that we feel could allow him to follow a similar pathway. The fact he is EQP qualified as well, I think the future looks bright for Josh.”
Although Iosefa-Scott, has played much of his club rugby with Waikato, he does have previous experience of being in the Highlanders Super Rugby squad, making his debut for them against the Melbourne Rebels back in 2019.
Commenting on his move to Sandy Park, he added: “I’m looking forward to the challenge. From what I know and having done some research after speaking to Rob on a video call, I do know the Chiefs are a very successful and proud club.
“Personally, I’m keen to get amongst it. The group seem very happy, the guys are chirpy in the training sheds and I’m here to make the most of my opportunity and soak up as much as I can.
“Obviously, this will be my first taste of rugby over here. From what I’ve been told and from what I’ve seen, it’s going to be physical and it’s quite set-piece orientated, but I’m kind of relishing that. Being here early is great as it gives me a head start, I can learn plenty and by the time next season comes round, hopefully I can hit the ground running.”