Exeter sign Ireland international in double Leinster swoop
Exeter Chiefs have made their first signings ahead of the 2022/23 season by bringing Ireland international Rory O’Loughlin and his Leinster teammate Jack Dunne.
The 28-year-old centre O’Loughlin has one cap for Ireland, against Japan in 2017, and will provide experience in the midfield, while the 23-year-old lock Dunne will help fill the void in the second row left by Jonny Hill, who joins Sale Sharks at the end of the season, and Sam Skinner, who joins Edinburgh.
After the signing of the two players, Exeter director of rugby Rob Baxter said on the club’s website: “People will be aware that we have lost a few players for next season, so we’ve been into the market and we’ve moved very quickly to get Jack and Rory on board.
“Jack, as soon as I looked at clips of him impressed me a lot. He’s a big guy, but he’s a big guy who can really move. He’s young, the right age, and everything I saw in the clips I liked. Meeting him here at Sandy Park doing his medical was good. He has had a relatively significant injury in recent times, so if people have been looking to him playing over the last 12 months, he’s not had a huge amount of game time. That said, he’s back now and playing for Leinster, so he coming through things.
“Personally, I can only see an upward performance curve in him. With game time, genuine input and probably a little bit more opportunity to play than he did at Leinster, who have got an awful lot of very good second rows, I think it fits for both sides. We have a slot there, Jack is looking to play more rugby, he’s EQP, which obviously helps us and creates opportunities for him here in England as well, so the package has been great and hopefully he is someone who will play a lot of rugby for us.
“Rory is slightly different. He’s an older guy, but with bags of experience having come through all the levels at Leinster, right up to winning a Heineken Cup with them. That’s the kind of guy we are probably looking for in our back line. He’s is someone who can add genuine communication, a bit of talk, a bit of heads-up and can see space a little bit, understand where we are, alongside being a very good rugby player.
“We’re kind of looking for different things from the two players, but we believe we have got that with these two guys. They have got good experience, come from a very good environment, where they have been part of a high performing team and training unit, so they tick a lot of boxes for us.
“We have played against Leinster numerous times and you can see the success they have had in both their domestic competition, as well as in Europe. These guys have been in that environment for a long time and they will have learnt a lot, so we’re hopeful we can learn from them and that we can teach them something. Having a combination of the two like that, it should be very successful.”