Jack Nowell facing ‘tough decision’ on Exeter future with ‘hands tied’ at club

England wing Jack Nowell admits he has “a tough decision” to make on his club future and accepts that “hands are tied” in terms of the Gallagher Premiership salary cap.

Nowell looks set to follow Exeter team-mates Luke Cowan-Dickie and Sam Simmonds out of Sandy Park when his contract expires later this year.

Cowan-Dickie and Simmonds will play for French champions Montpellier after the World Cup, and Nowell’s 10-year Exeter career appears to be in its final few months.

Exeter and England wing Jack Nowell
Jack Nowell has enjoyed a successful 10-year career with Exeter (James Manning/PA)

The 29-year-old says no decision has yet been made, but a reduced salary cap of £5million has made it increasingly difficult for English clubs to compete with sides in France and Japan.

“Everyone is pretty aware of the salary cap and stuff, and every Premiership team is in the same position,” Nowell said.

“I would love to stay at the club, but for me I am in a position with where I am at in my career, and I have got a family, so I have got to spend a bit more time thinking about these decisions now.

“It doesn’t take anything away from what I want to do for the club now. If it is my last year, then so be it, but I want to win every game for the club and win competitions.

Exeter rugby director Rob Baxter
Exeter boss Rob Baxter has seen Luke Cowan-Dickie and Sam Simmonds sign for Montpellier (Simon Galloway/PA)

“I am not saying I am definitely leaving, but I have never been in a position where I am in a position to speak to other clubs.

“Nothing is set in stone at the moment, so I am pretty chilled and laidback and I am just going to see what happens.”

Exeter boss Rob Baxter says that he has to plan for next season without Nowell, who is closing in on 50 England caps and became Chiefs’ first British and Irish Lion when he toured New Zealand in 2017.

If Nowell does head abroad, then current Rugby Football Union policy means that he will not be eligible for England following the World Cup.

“As much as I would love to stay here and be at the Chiefs forever, Rob’s hands are tied, Tony Rowe’s (Exeter chairman and chief executive) hands are tied and that is one of the tough decisions I have got to think about now,” he added.

“As much as I would love to be here and stay here, I have got these guys (Nowell’s family) to think about, and that is why I am spending a bit of time doing it and seeing what happens.

“Like Rob said during the week, it is a very open discussion – there are no mind games going on.

Exeter and England wing Jack Nowell
Nowell became Exeter’s first British and Irish Lion when he toured New Zealand in 2017 (David Davies/PA)

“I am being very open with Rob about when, or if, a team has spoken to me, and I like that fact because it is open, it is honest and I like speaking to Rob like that.

“Covid did a lot of bad stuff to different teams, not just Wasps and Worcester. There is a lot of other stuff going on behind the scenes with other teams as well.

“I completely understand why they are doing it (the reduced salary cap) and what they are doing, but at the same time I have to look after myself, got to look after my family and I have got to see what happens.”