Jack Nowell: Exeter boss Rob Baxter planning for life after England wing next season

Jack Nowell smiling at Exeter Chiefs warm up. Rob Baxter is planning a replacement for the winger who is out of contract at the end of the season. Credit: Alamy
Jack Nowell smiling at Exeter Chiefs warm up. Rob Baxter is planning a replacement for the winger who is out of contract at the end of the season. Credit: Alamy

Exeter director of rugby Rob Baxter has conceded that he’s planning for next season without the services of Jack Nowell, who is set to leave Sandy Park.

The 29-year-old England wing is coming out of contract at the club and seems poised to follow Sam Simmonds and Luke Cowan-Dickie out the Exeter door.

Nowell has been a mainstay at the Chiefs for 10 years and has strongly been linked with a switch to the Top 14 in France, as Baxter expects him to move on.

A very open scenario

When asked whether he was planning to be without Nowell next season, Baxter said: “Yes. I’ve got to plan that he won’t be here. That’s the current situation.

“With Jack, it has been very open in all the conversations. There haven’t been any problems.

“I am not asking Jack every day what is going on, and he is not asking me every day what is going on.

“The agreement we’ve got is that if I find a replacement player who I like the look of, we are going to sign them. He is aware of that. Jack is currently looking in the market of what he wants to look at.

“If he comes back to me pre us signing anybody, we can talk. If he comes back post us signing someone who has replaced him and the salary cap room is not there, then it’s not there.

“It is a very open scenario. I am assuming he is not here, and I think he is assuming he’s going.

“As much as there is no contract been signed – and there is no definitive answer for you – we are moving on. If that answers your question, that’s all I can say.

Waiting game for Baxter

“If ‘Nowellsy’ turns around to me, walks up and says ‘go on then Rob, let’s sit down and try and get a contract’, then I would be delighted.”

Nowell is set to be involved with England in the upcoming Six Nations, which means he’ll be away from the Premiership side for a prolonged period of time.

The all-action wing has helped Exeter win Premiership and European titles during his time in Devon and is nearing his 50th cap for England. He was also the first Chiefs player to make a British & Irish Lions squad when he toured New Zealand in 2017.

Exeter are currently preparing for this weekend’s clash with Northampton and come into that game on the back of a heavy 35-3 defeat at the hands of Saracens.

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