Exeter Chiefs centre set for potential midseason departure 

Tom Hendrickson has enjoyed a strong season at Exeter Chiefs in 2023/24

Based on recent reports, Exeter Chiefs center Tom Hendrickson may depart the Devon club early in the New Year to play in the Japanese League One.


Hendrickson, 29, made his Exeter debut in November 2013 during an LV= Cup victory over the Harlequins at Sandy Park. Since then, he has been a very valuable member of the Chiefs’ squad for almost ten years.

Having come through the club’s academy as a teenager while attending Truro College, the hard-running center, who was born in New Zealand but raised in Cornwall, has never been first choice in his specialist position of inside centre during his time at Chiefs. Despite this, he has amassed 87 appearances for the club and scored nine tries. He began the Premiership campaign this season for Exeter, starting in midfield, and had great performances in their commanding back-to-back home victories over Sale Sharks and Saracens, the previous season’s finalists.

Rob Baxter, the director of rugby for the Chiefs, does, however, have a lot of resources at inside center now that Olly Devoto, an England international with one cap, is back fit after a year of injury hell that included double hip surgery, and Joe Hawkins, a 21-year-old Welsh international, arrived at Sandy Park this summer from the Ospreys.

Under current WRU rules, Hawkins is ineligible for international selection. However, he has quickly established himself as first choice in the 12 jersey in Devon as he continues to forge a formidable partnership with Henry Slade, who is clearly enjoying his role as the club’s last major star from the golden era. Hawkins earned five caps in the centres for Wales before moving to Exeter. The 30-year-old Slade’s contract expires in June, raising concerns about his continued employment with the team after this one.


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