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Jonny Gray: Exeter and Scotland lock nearing return to fitness



Exeter’s Scotland lock Jonny Gray could return to fitness later this month.

The 29-year-old has been out since suffering a knee injury in their European Champions Cup semi-final defeat at La Rochelle on 30 April.

The injury caused him to miss the World Cup and it is unlikely he will have any game time before Scotland name their first Six Nations squad.

Gray, who has won 77 caps for Scotland, has been linked with a summer move to the French Top 14.

“We’re hopeful he’ll be fit during this break period that’s going to happen now, before we resume in the Premiership,” Exeter director of rugby Rob Baxter told BBC Sport.

“Over this period he should be very much back to there or thereabouts; by the time we get back into the Premiership he should be up and running and into full training.

“That’s what I’m being told at the moment. Obviously we’ve had that message a couple of times, but that’s where we are at the moment.”

Gray, who moved to Exeter in the summer of 2020 and helped the club win the delayed Champions Cup final that autumn, had been expected to be fit in November.

He missed the first half of the 2021-22 season with a shoulder injury but had played a key role for the Chiefs last season as they reached the last four of the Champions Cup, as well as playing in all of Scotland’s Six Nations matches.

“Obviously he’s a very, very good player and he’s shown that for us on a number of occasions,” added Baxter.

“He could be an absolutely crucial guy to have fit for our run-in because, whatever happens, the end of the season is going to look fairly exciting in a number of ways.

“We’ve definitely got a Premiership Rugby Cup semi-final coming up in the middle of that break period, potentially that could lead to a final.

“We’re in the top four currently in the Premiership so whatever happens in the next round we’re going to be fighting to be in and around the top four, and obviously we’ve got two very exciting rounds in Europe now.”

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