McCauley signs on for the Chiefs
By Mark Stevens
Aussie newcomer Ryan McCauley says he cannot wait to get stuck into life in the Gallagher Premiership after today joining the Exeter Chiefs on a short-term deal.
The imposing 6ft 8in, 18 stone, second-row forward joins the Chiefs from Aussie Super Rugby side, Western Force, and will provide a quality option up front for Exeter Director of Rugby, Rob Baxter, ahead of the new 2021/22 season.
McCauley arrived in Devon on Thursday following a lengthy flight from Perth and was quickly shown around Sandy Park, where he not only got to watch his new team-mates train, but also caught up with Baxter, who admitted he had sought the opinion of former Chief Greg Holmes on his new recruit.
It will be the 24-year-old’s first taste of competitive rugby outside his homeland, but it’s a challenge he says he is clearly relishing.
“I’m really looking forward to ripping in,” said the Sydney-born lock. “I’ve just watched the boys train and now I’m excited to get amongst it all and get involved with training and then the games.
“It’ll be my first experience of rugby over in these parts, but I’ve watched games of the Chiefs and I know it’s a very good and high standard over here. As I said, I’m looking forward to learning from the other tight forwards here because there is a great calibre of players here. Also, I just can’t wait to add to my skill-set around line-out, maul and scrum, especially as it used a lot more over here.”
McCauley played NRC with New South Wales regional side Country Eagles, before he was snapped up by the Waratahs. He would spent four years with them before moving to Western Australia and joining the Force, where he featured 14 times last season.
An Australian Schoolboys and Under-20s player, McCauley confirmed he also sought the views of Holmes before embarking on his move to the Chiefs.
“Greg pointed me in the right direction and told me a fair bit about the place and the club itself,” he added. “He spoke very highly of everything and of his time here. When I found out there was a chance of me coming over, I went straight to him and picked his brain. He was excited for me and now I’m here, I can see why he was so positive about the place.”
McCauley joins a Chiefs outfit who are currently in pre-season building up for the new campaign, which gets underway with a pre-season friendly against Munster on September 11, before the Premiership itself begins with a testing trip to Leicester Tigers a week later.
“Pre-season you have to do,” said McCauley. “It’s a necessary evil, but it is when you all get stuck into things as a group and it gives you that confidence to go into the new season. It builds camaraderie amongst the boys, simply because you share the same common hurt, but that’s what helps you when the season starts.”
Whilst his new team-mates endured the latest day of slog on the training field, McCauley was taking in his new surroundings at Sandy Park.
“I’ve heard lots about the Exeter fans and how passionate they are,” he said. “The stadiums over here are a lot more compact and the fans are right on you, but that’s something I like. Right now, I just want to get up to speed, amongst the boys, and then hopefully get amongst the action.
“The Premiership, I know, is a tough division. The perception of it has perhaps changed a fair bit over the last two or three years back home. It’s a lot more expansive these days and you only had to look at the games towards the end of last season, there were a lot of tight finishes and a lot of points scored.
“You can see it’s a lot more attacking and I can’t wait to be part of it all.”