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Premiership Rugby

Chiefs suffer Kimlin blow

Chiefs suffer Kimlin blow

Peter Kimlin’s stay with Aviva Premiership Rugby newcomers Exeter Chiefs has been brought to an abrupt end after the Australian international was injured during training on Monday.

The 25-year-old forward has been told he faces up to 12 weeks on the sidelines after damaging knee ligaments following a collision with team-mate Paul McKenzie.

It's an unfortunate setback for Kimlin, who was using his short loan spell in Devon as an opportunity to not only try his hand at rugby in the Northern Hemisphere, but at the same time work his way back to full fitness following a nerve problem in one of his shoulders.

Kimlin will now head back to his Aussie parent club, the Super 15 outfit the Brumbies, to undergo a new rehabilitation programme ahead of their 2011 campaign which will start on February 19 against the New Zealand-based Chiefs.

Having featured just three times for Exeter's first team, including a full appearance in the recent LV= Cup win over London Wasps, this latest news has come as a shock not only to Kimlin, but also head coach Rob Baxter.

“It’s a frustrating time for Peter, he came over and we anticipated him being involved in a bit more rugby,” said Baxter.

“He arrived too late for us to get him involved in the early European games, that held him back from the next round of Premiership games and once he got his feet under the table and an A game under his belt we then ran into the three foreigners rule, with Steeno getting injured and Ignacio Mieres starting to feature in the squad.

“That held him out for another week and then this week in training he’s picked up a knee injury that will keep him out for the rest of the time he’s here with us. It’s very unfortunate for Peter as he was looking to have a big pre-season running into the Super 15s for the Brumbies, but these things do happen in rugby.”

Baxter, however, had nothing but praise for Kimlin's efforts during his short stint with the Chiefs

“He’d settled in very well, was a popular member of the squad – he’s a good guy and a very good player,” added Baxter. “I think he would have featured a fair bit over the next few weeks, but these things happen. It was a training ground incident, he clashed with a player on his own team in a game of touch, and sadly that is it for him now.”

Kimlin himself was understandably "gutted" when told that he would be out of action for up to three months.

“I’m pretty disappointed about what’s happened, but it’s one of those things,” said a philosophical Kimlin. “When I came here the anticipation about playing was quite exciting and being able to come to a new environment was really challenging.

“The month I’ve been here I saw little steps coming back; I was getting fitter and obviously getting a bit more rugby. It was something different and after being out for 12 months it was what I needed.”

He added: "I’ve met some great blokes here and those relationships are something I’ll take home with me. I’ve learned a few things about how English rugby is played, which is different to back home, and overall it’s been a great experience. It’s been short-lived, but I’ve enjoyed every minute.

“I’ll head back and get into pre-season, they’ve been back for three weeks, so hopefully my knee recovers well and I’ll go from there. I’m just trying to stay positive at the moment.”

Kimlin's early exit is an untimely blow for the Chiefs, who this weekend face Sale Sharks before heading to London Wasps a week later.
Baxter, though, is in no rush to hunt down any kind of replacement, insisting he has plenty of options at his disposal.

“I think we’ll asses how things go over the next couple of weeks,” he said. “Dave Gannon’s played a bit, Chris Bentley’s played a bit, Addison Lockley is up and fit now and getting some game time at Launceston and Chad Slade can cover the second row so we have got some options.

“I’ve been desperate all season not to just bring someone in to make up the numbers and I’m still determined to do that exactly the same. What I will do is assess who’s out there and if there’s some quality that we can bring that will add something to the squad we may do something, but the deciding factor will be who is available.”
 

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