Scotland star leaves Premiership club with immediate effect while 61-cap forward makes retirement call

Adam Kyriacou
Fraser Brown and Jonny Gray for Scotland against England.

Fraser Brown and Jonny Gray for Scotland against England.

Scotland second-row Jonny Gray has left Exeter Chiefs with immediate effect to “explore other playing opportunities”, the Premiership club has announced.

The 30-year-old, who has been linked with a move to Top 14 side Bordeaux-Begles, has been with the Chiefs for four years in a successful period at Sandy Park.

Gray was part of Exeter’s 2019/20 Premiership and Champions Cup double-winning season, with his lineout expertise and defensive work strengths of his game.

Mutual agreement

However, the lock’s time at the Premiership outfit has come to a close after the Chiefs and Gray reached a mutual agreement for his early release from the club.

Gray joined the Devon side from Glasgow Warriors where he racked up over 100 appearances for the Scottish team while starring for his country at Test level.

He became an integral part of Exeter’s side in a hugely successful era under Rob Baxter, with the likes of Sam Simmonds and Luke Cowan-Dickie in their pomp.

“Jonny has been a big part of our journey in recent seasons,” said Chiefs director of rugby Baxter, who wished the Scotland second-row well in his next chapter.

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“He has been a great figure to have among our squad, with his international experience and the physicality he brings to games. His tackle stats speak for themselves.

“He has experienced some injury frustration during the end of his time with us, but I am sure Jonny will do everything he can to come back stronger as he moves on to the next step of his rugby journey.

“I’d like to thank Jonny for everything he gave to the Chiefs shirt, and I know the club and fans will join me in wishing him all the best for the future.”

Fraser Brown retires

Meanwhile, Scotland hooker Fraser Brown has announced he will hang up his boots at the end of the season, bringing the curtain down on his 61-cap rugby career.

Brown has played 141 times for Glasgow Warriors since his debut in 2013 and was part of the 2015 PRO12-winning team and served as co-captain for two seasons.

Internationally, Brown made his Scotland debut as an injury replacement against Italy in 2013 and earned selection in Scotland’s squad for the 2015 World Cup.

Brown is currently head coach of Watsonians in the FOSROC Super Sprint Series and has not featured for Glasgow Warriors or Scotland this season due to injury.

“When you have a serious injury like I did with an ACL at the end of your career, it is always going to be hard to come back from. That probably made it a little easier to announce my retirement but it’s still a surreal and strange feeling,” he said.

“I’m hugely proud to have played so many times for Scotland during my career. To get one cap was great, but then my second one came against the All Blacks at Murrayfield which was such a special occasion.

61 caps for Scotland

“To reach 50 caps was a big moment as I had to deal with a lot of injuries throughout my career and to be part of the growth process of the team which has resulted in where they are now has been cool.

“To have played so many times for my country and have that consistency which allowed me to be around the national team for so long is something I’m proud of.

“Thanks to all the supporters who backed me and the squad throughout my career. The adrenaline boost they provided at certain moments during the games made such a difference. I look forward to joining them in backing the team from the stands.”

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