Wales and England keeping tabs on Exeter winger Immanuel Feyi-Waboso… with Warren Gatland considering the 20-year-old Cardiff-born back for Six Nations
- Immanuel Feyi-Waboso has caught the eye of Wales head coach Warren Gatland
- The winger has helped the Chiefs make an impressive start to the season
- The 20-year-old also qualifies for England and the RFU are also monitoring him
Exeter’s early-season form has seen their rookie wing Immanuel Feyi-Waboso catch the attention of Wales head coach Warren Gatland.
MailSport understands Gatland has been looking at the 20-year-old Cardiff-born back with a view to a possible call-up for the 2024 Six Nations.
And Gatland may well have to consider picking him sooner rather than later as it is also understood Feyi-Waboso qualifies for England through family ancestry and that the RFU are monitoring him too. After losing a host of senior figures and England internationals to moves abroad, Rob Baxter’s Exeter began the 2023/24 campaign with a youthful side.
But, with expectations lower than in previous years, the Chiefs have had a strong start to the new season considering they have lost a string of experienced players.
They have won three of their five Premiership games to date.
Exeter wing Immanuel Feyi-Waboso has caught the eye of Wales head coach Warren Gatland
Among the next generation of Exeter players to make a big impact in the early months of the season is Feyi-Waboso who is also studying full time for a medicine degree at Exeter University.
The wing and Exeter’s young team weren’t at their best in a 34-19 defeat by Northampton on Sunday.
Feyi-Waboso is still making his way in the game but his promise has been noted after he scored tries for his club in big wins over defending champions Saracens and Sale.
‘That’s how our young players learn. I can’t fault their effort,’ Exeter director of rugby Baxter said after his team’s defeat at Franklin’s Gardens.
‘The problem with putting together the wins we did was that then the focus changes whereas the reality is the young players are going to make mistakes.
‘Immanuel is a perfect example. He’s got great attributes and he’s done really well over the course of the season so far.
‘He needs to play, play and play and get as many minutes of Premiership rugby as possible then all his positive bits will start to double up. He was four penalties deep in the first half.
‘It’s those things he needs to get right around the physical attributes he’s got.’
After the international retirements of Dan Biggar and Leigh Halfpenny and Liam Williams and Gareth Anscombe moving to Japan, Gatland is looking for a new generation of back-line talent.
Now without Halfpenny and Williams, one of Josh Adams or Louis Rees-Zammit is expected to move from the wing to full-back for the Six Nations.
It leaves a space in the back three available. Feyi-Waboso is unlikely to be a tournament starter with Rio Dyer in line for a promotion to Wales’ starting XV.
But the former Corpus Christi High School product is in contention to be named in Wales’ wider squad with Gatland watching him from afar.
Feyi-Waboso signed his first professional deal with Cardiff back in December 2021, initially juggling his rugby commitments with school studies at Bristol’s Clifton College.
The 20-year-old has helped the Chiefs make an impressive start to the season
Born to Nigerian parents, he grew up in Llandaff and excelled in athletics as well as rugby as a junior, specialising in hurdles and high jump.
He made his first team debut for Cardiff at 18 but was lost to Welsh rugby last year when the region’s senior management believed he wouldn’t become a first-team regular.
Feyi-Waboso nonetheless soon had interest from French clubs but joined the academy at Wasps as well as studying medicine at Aston University.
When Wasps slipped into administration last October, Exeter moved swiftly to secure the signature of the promising Welsh age-grade international whose future looks bright.
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