Regular readers will know I’m a big fan of Ian Whitten and I’m genuinely sorry to see him go.
Unfortunately for Whitten we do appear to have a conveyor belt of young centres coming through and with many of them already marked by Ireland and Ulster from early in their careers it was always going to be difficult for the talented centre to consolidate a first team spot.
However, Exeter are the most improving team in the English Premiership and they do play a nice style of rugby so it should be a good move and we wish him luck.
Speaking on the Exeter website, Whitten says:
Obviously I’m delighted with the move, it’s going to be a new challenge in a tough environment for me, but it’s one I am very much looking forward too.
I was very impressed with the facilities at Exeter when I came over and also by all the people who seemed very friendly and made me feel very welcome. Testing myself in the Premiership is going to be great because it’s a very tough league and every week the challenge is there for you to take on.
It is always sad to move on from a club, especially because I’ve had a lot of good times at Ulster. But I see this as a new chapter for me in my career and I want to try something different. You can see Exeter are a club with real ambition and are moving in the right direction.
I spoke to both Dan (Tuohy) and Lewis (Stevenson) and they said lots of great things about the club. Also a few of the guys here played for the Irish Wolfhounds over there the other week and said how impressed they were by the place. As I said, I liked what I saw as well and the facilities look great. All I’ve heard is real positives about the place, so I’m really looking forward to the challenge.
Other disappointing news is that another FRU Favourite Willy Faloon may be on his way to Connacht at the end of the season. With Faloon joining other FRU Favourites, Niall O’Connor, TJ Anderson and mark McCrea we might have to open a Connacht branch!