Nic White to leave Exeter Chiefs for Australia with Rob Baxter's blessing
Exeter director of rugby Rob Baxter says he could not stand in the way of Nic White playing in a World Cup after confirming the Australian scrum-half will leave the Chiefs in 2020.
White, 28, will join a Super Rugby franchise and in so doing be eligible for selection by the Wallabies for this autumn’s showpiece event in Japan.
He joined Exeter in 2017 and has scored 10 tries in 44 games for the club.
White has 22 caps and told BBC Sport in November that he hoped to add to them.
“Nic’s got our full blessing,” Baxter told BBC Sport.
“He’s fully contracted with us now for this season and the season coming, but by signing for an Australian franchise, that allows Australia to pick him now which makes him available for the World Cup.
“Nic’s always wanted to play in a World Cup, it’s been a big ambition of his.
“As much as we’d like Nic to stay here long term, he’s a very good player for us and done very well, there is a reality that we also think it’s part of what we’re about that if we can help someone reignite their career and do well that we don’t want to stand in their way.”
It means Exeter have a year to decide how to replace White, who began his career at the Brumbies before moving to French side Montpellier in 2017.
Exeter are blessed with a number of home-grown options at nine; Stu Townsend started the 2017 Premiership final, but is recovering from a serious knee injury, while Jack Maunder won an England cap in 2017 and his brother Sam has played age-group rugby for England.
“You’d like to keep all your top players and keep adding to it, but that isn’t the reality,” said Baxter.
“We’ll keep our eye on the market, interesting players will become available, but first and foremost we’ll look at the form of the young nines we’ve got here and see if we start to anticipate a year’s time is the right time for them all to step up and fight for the one, two and three spots just on their own.”