Friday 18 January 2019

Cuthbert into Wales exile after making Exeter switch

Wales wing Alex Cuthbert. Photo: Getty Images
Wales wing Alex Cuthbert. Photo: Getty Images

Jack De Menezes

Alex Cuthbert believes the time is right to "try something different" after deciding to turn his back on Wales in order to join the reigning Premiership champions Exeter Chiefs from the start of next season.

The 47-time-capped wing does not meet the 60-cap requirement to play abroad and remain eligible for the national team, meaning that until he returns to Wales, he will be ineligible for selection.

But his decision to leave the Cardiff Blues this summer comes after falling down the pecking order in Warren Gatland's squad, with Liam Williams, Steff Evans, Josh Adams and Hallam Amos all currently ahead of Cuthbert following the Six Nations, and his chances of making the squad for the 2019 Rugby World Cup already appeared to be slim at best.

With the 27-year-old's current contract with Cardiff due to expire in the summer, the Chiefs announced yesterday that he has agreed a three-year deal to move to Sandy Park until 2021, and the move could well represent a fresh start for Cuthbert after a fall from grace over the last few years, having featured in the Test side on the Lions' 2013 tour of Australia.

"I'm very excited about the move," said Cuthbert.

"I've played all of my rugby in Wales and I've enjoyed some fantastic times over the years, but I feel I'm at a stage in my career where I have to try something different and the challenge of going to Exeter and trying to prove myself in a new environment is something that really appeals to me.

"I still feel at my age I have a lot to offer and by moving to Exeter, hopefully the coaches can help bring even more out in my game."

The powerful wing scored in the opening Test against the Wallabies for the Lions five years ago and has 16 tries for Wales to his name.

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