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Josh Hodge: Exeter Chiefs full-back compared to England's Jack Nowell


Josh Hodge
Josh Hodge has featured seven times for Exeter since his summer move from Newcastle

Exeter boss Rob Baxter says Josh Hodge reminds him of a young Jack Nowell.

The 20-year-old has started the last two matches while team-mates are away on international duty, playing both at full-back and on the wing.

Hodge is in his first full season at Sandy Park having moved to the club from Newcastle in June.

“If you watch the London Irish game, most of his touches on the ball he breaks the first tackle and that gets you momentum,” Baxter said.

“I remember with Jack Nowell, you could start to see there was something special about him – there was always some way of him getting his momentum. He always managed to appear out of the far side of a tackle or shrug off the first guy.

“That’s an attribute that Josh looks like he’s got and will only improve as he physically matures.”

Hodge has already been capped at under-20 level by England and was called up as an apprentice player by England head coach Eddie Jones for last year’s Six Nations.

Like England and British and Irish Lions winger Nowell – who can also play at full-back – Baxter sees Hodge’s versatility as a key asset as he looks to gain more first-team opportunities.

“I think he can move between wing and full-back, he’s a back-three player and I think playing a bit of wing could be a good development for him,” Baxter said.

“His attributes are there to be seen. He’s got very good pace, he’s a very good kicker of the ball and as you’ve seen in the last few weeks he’s defended pretty well as well.

“His confidence and his ability on the ball will grow and without doubt he is going to improve over the course of this season.

“He’s got very good attributes, he’s exactly where we want [him] to be at the moment, we just want him on an upward curve.

“He doesn’t have to be an out-and-out superstar for us right here and now, he just needs to be on an upward curve of development and that’s the important thing.”



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