Sam Skinner: New Scotland call-up urged to make most of international chance

Sam Skinner
Sam Skinner made his Exeter debut in an LV= Cup game almost four years ago while still a student at Exeter University

Exeter boss Rob Baxter has urged Sam Skinner to make the most of his chance with Scotland after he was called up for their autumn Tests.

The Exeter-born 23-year-old is a former England Under-20 international but qualifies through his father.

"If you're going to go, make it a good career, make sure you get plenty out of it," Baxter says he told Skinner.

"Make sure you are learning from it and it's something that becomes part of your playing programme for a while."

He continued: "That's my big determination with these guys, and it's the same with our England players.

"We don't want our England players to be low caps, if they are going to play for England we want them to be the guys that are driving the whole makeup of the team, because that's ultimately how they become the best players they can for us."

'He's now a very big part in what the team is about'

Skinner has progressed through the Exeter ranks and become a first-choice at lock this year.

He featured in May's Premiership final loss to Saracens and in 13 Premiership matches last season as Exeter topped the table at the end of the regular season for the first time.

In all, he has now made 43 appearances for the Chiefs, scoring four tries.

"Sam's been aware of an interest from Scotland for a little while, he made us aware of that right from the start so it hasn't come as a surprise," Baxter told BBC Sport.

Sam Skinner catches a lineout
Exeter skipper Jack Yeandle says Sam Skinner 'loves lineouts'

"We're delighted for him. As ever, I'm disappointed that an EQP (English Qualified Player) guy, who's playing Premiership rugby, ends up being capped by another country as we're an English club and we'd like our guys playing for England.

"But ultimately you want your players to be playing at the highest level they can play.

"He's very keen and determined to play for Scotland, they've been very positive with their approach to him, so it's going to be an interesting autumn for him."

Skinner's ability has not just impressed his coaches but also his teammates, according to club captain Jack Yeandle:

"He's shown since he arrived he's been a standout player that's progressed really well into the first team and he's now a very big part in what the team is about and what the culture is about.

"He's shown himself really well as a leader this year as well, and full credit to him, he's definitely earned it," he said.

Scotland begin their autumn campaign against Wales in Cardiff on 3 November, followed by home games against Fiji, South Africa and Argentina.