Exeter’s Rob Baxter on Christ Tshiunza’s call-up in Wales: “I’m not surprised. It’s probably a little early in his career, but there’s a real physical presence there, he’s got very good speed, he’s big, strong. He’s probably one of those. where the sky is a bit the limit. ”
Last Updated: 10/14/21 2:25 pm
Exeter boss Rob Baxter thinks it could be a case where “the sky’s the limit” for Wales’ surprise call-up Christ Tshiunza.
The Chiefs’ 19-year-old back-row or second-row forward was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo but moved to Wales in 2010 and is a product of Whitchurch High School in Cardiff, whose alumni also include Sam Warburton, Gareth Bale and Geraint. Thomas.
On Wednesday, Tshiunza was named among Wayne Pivac’s 38-man Wales squad for the Fall Nations Series Trials.
About an hour after his Welsh team was selected for the Fall Trials (appointments with New Zealand, South Africa, Fiji and Australia), 6-foot-6-inch Tshiunza was playing for the University of Exeter against Cardiff University. in a cup game.
“I’m not surprised,” said Exeter rugby manager Baxter. “It’s probably a bit early in his rugby career, I don’t think even Christ would mind me saying that, but I can understand why.
“There is a real physical presence there, he is going to be a big, athletic man.
“He has very good speed, he’s big and strong and fast, fast on the ground lineout and he likes to crash into people. So those basic fundamentals of what it takes to be a rugby player are there.
“And now, really, it’s about how far he can go. It’s about playing a lot of rugby and training to the best of his ability.”
“It’s probably one of those where here and now the sky is a little bit the limit.”
Wales U-20 international Tshiunza can play in the bottom five, and Wales named him among their contingent of locks.
Wales head coach Pivac said: “We are looking at the here and now, and also the 2023 World Cup.”
“He’s a great athlete, he has a good skill set. He obviously lacks playing time in senior rugby, but he’s in a good place in Exeter in terms of working with Rob Baxter.
“He brings something that probably no one else has in the country in terms of his height and athleticism, so he’s getting him involved at an early stage in his development.”
“If he will play rugby in this series, time will tell, but we want him to come in, get closer to the older players and get used to the environment.”