EXETER CHIEFS want to make a move early in the New Year to lure loosehead Beno Obano away from West Country rivals Bath.
The Premiership and European champions are ready to heap more misery on Bath who are set to lose a handful of senior players who are out of contract at the end of the season.
England back row Zach Mercer is in advanced talks to move across the Channel and join Montpellier who have made it clear he is on their shopping list.
Lions stars Jonathan Joseph and Anthony Watson are also out of contract and are yet to agree new deals to remain with Stuart Hooper’s side beyond the summer. Rob Baxter has put Obano, who was born in Camberwell, South East London and is the cousin of Maro Itoje, at the top of his shopping list for the next season.
He can officially open contract talks with Obano, who was a member of the Wasps academy before moving to Bath in 2014, from January 1 and is set to be quick off the mark to hold those talks.
Obano is understood to be keen on discussing a future with the Chiefs as he believes a move to Sandy Park could strengthen his bid to break into Eddie Jones match-day squad.
He has been called up for several training camps by Jones, but prop is a position where England have plenty of strength in depth, headed by Mako Vunipola and Obano is yet to win his first cap.