Rob Baxter's big-name summer signing of 2023, the highly-rated Joe Hawkins arrived in Devon from the Ospreys.
Hawkins hails from Ystalyfera and is a former student at Cwmtawe Comprehensive School, playing most of his youth rugby at Pontardawe RFC, later playing for Neath Port Talbot College and Neath Athletic. He represented Swansea Valley in the Dewar Shield and briefly played rugby league, appearing for the West Wales Raiders, before concentrating solely on rugby union.
Hawkins joined the Ospreys, initially playing for their U16 side, and progressed through the academy ranks. He was named in the Ospreys side for Round four of the 2020/21 Pro14 fixture against Zebre, making his professional rugby debut at age 18 and scored his first professional try against Connacht on 26 November 2021.
Primarily an inside centre, Hawkins is also able to play as an outside half.
Hawkins has represented Wales at U20 level and first appeared for the team during the 2020 Six Nations Under 20s Championship, having been selected at age 17. He scored his first try for the U20 team in July 2021 against Scotland.
Hawkins was selected as captain for the 2022 U20 Summer Series, and converted a late penalty against Italy to clinch the win. Wales reached the final of the tournament, but ultimately lost to South Africa.
In November 2022, Hawkins made his Wales debut, starting against Australia. Warren Gatland then named Hawkins in his squad for the 2023 Six Nations, and Hawkins retained the inside centre shirt as the tournament began.