Gloucester Rugby’s Aaron Hinkley has signed for rivals of the Gallagher Premiership Exeter Chiefs.
Our product has reached the end of its academic contract with Cherry and White and has signed a two-year agreement with the Chiefs.
This summer he will move to the Devon club at the top of the rankings.
Hinkley is the third confirmed acquisition of Exeter before the 2020/21 season and follows Scottish internationals Jonny Gray and Sam Hidalgo-Clyne to join Rob Baxter’s team.
“I am very excited about the move,” said Hinkley, who has been tied to the Under 18 and Under 20 levels with England. “I was coming to the end of my contract in Gloucester and when I learned that there was some interest from Exeter, I wanted to know more about what they had to say.
“Talking to Rob Baxter and Rob Hunter, I liked what they had to say and how they wanted to work with me and develop my game going forward. Everyone knows that Exeter is one of the best clubs in Europe and that they have created an excellent environment and a great culture for their players.
“Obviously, I am grateful for the opportunities Gloucester has offered me in recent years, but I feel it is the right time to try something different. I know going down to Exeter will be a great challenge, especially when you see the quality of their team, but I think they can help me take me to another level. “
The Hereford-born flanker was a pupil of Gloucester’s St Peter’s High School before joining the club’s Academy lineup in 2017. The following year he made his first team debut to replace Ben Morgan in a cup game. Anglo-Welsh versus Newcastle Falcons.
Since then, he has combined life with Cherry and Whites by initially presenting Cinderford in the National League and then Hartpury College in the RFU championship.
To date, he has played 12 times for Gloucester, scoring goals against Harlequins and London Irish in this season’s Premiership Rugby Cup. However, he sees his future away from Kingsholm and is excited to test himself in a new environment with the Chiefs.
Baxter himself is delighted to have acquired the services of Hinkley, who was named the man of the match when he appeared for England Under 20 at Sandy Park last season.
“Aaron is someone we have looked very closely at,” said Baxter. “We met him and loved what he had to say and liked his character. He has a fast pace and is a player who really likes to get in and turn the ball.
“These are important characteristics for us because, I know that people will look at our forward package and talk about the size and that they are big and physical, as they are, but you also need to have elements of rhythm and you need to create a group of players. in your pack that they can do something together.
“What you see with Aaron is that he is someone we feel can fit into our combinations very well and provide some of those key elements. At the same time, he also has other attributes that we can only see grow with us more and more.
“I can see him being a guy who has good line speed attributes; will be strong above the ball; and he has a pinball way of making contact, which I think will be perfect for us.
“He’s also a young boy who has just come out of England’s Under 20s, so it seems he’s been developing physically for several years. Those are the kind of qualities we want to see. We want to see the attributes that will make him part of the various combinations that we want to field on a regular basis. “
And being also qualified in English, Hinkley scores a number of other boxes for Baxter in terms of the overall team.
“We believe that we are doing well and that we are a team that has achieved many things in recent years,” added Baxter. “However, the last thing I want us to do is sit on our laurels and expect the players we have to keep moving forward. It does not work like that.
“Although we currently have a good age group for the team, you also have senior players who are beyond their best years and starting to leave the contract, so it is really important that we have plans on where we could be between two or three years.
“Where we are really lucky with Aaron is that we feel he has many qualities that man can play rugby in the first team fairly quickly, but I can also watch him play, progress and improve for several years. I think it’s the exciting thing, which we believe can bring players who are practically ready to go now, but to whom you can see that physical and game maturity continue to develop. “