Exeter Chiefs wing Jack Nowell hints at move to France

Jack Nowell - Exeter Chiefs wing Jack Nowell hints at move to France - GETTY IMAGES
Jack Nowell - Exeter Chiefs wing Jack Nowell hints at move to France - GETTY IMAGES

Jack Nowell, the Exeter Chiefs wing, has cast doubt on his England and Gallagher Premiership future by considering a move to France at the end of the season.

Nowell, who was named in Eddie Jones' training squad that assembled in Richmond on Tuesday ahead of the autumn internationals, is out of contract with the Chiefs at the end of the 2022-23 campaign and refused to rule out a move abroad on Monday.

A number of French clubs remain interested in the 29-year-old, who has seen team-mate Sam Simmonds agree a move to Montpellier for next season. Simmonds will be available for World Cup selection next year but will become ineligible after the tournament – owing to the Rugby Football Union's policy of not selecting players based overseas – an approach that presumably will apply to any potential Nowell move.

“The only thing I can do is focus on this year and whatever comes, comes,” Nowell said. “We’ve got four big games this autumn and a massive Six Nations where we want to make up for last year.

“I’ve made it obvious before that one day [a move to France is] something I would like to do obviously if my body allows me. Whether it’s next year or the year after I’m not too sure yet but I’m in a position where I’ve always been in contract with the club and this is the first year where I’ve found myself not in contract next year. For me there is a lot to play for and a lot still to go.”

Last week, Exeter director of rugby Rob Baxter admitted he “could not guarantee” that more internationals would not leave Sandy Park before the end of the season, as Premiership clubs contend with the desire to keep hold of their stars alongside the lower £5 million salary cap.

“If someone turns around and identifies one of our other players and it's another French club, it's going to be difficult to match it,” Baxter said.

“An outcome of us winning the Champions Cup and winning some trophies is that the players you've got here can become individual targets. We can't collectively make all our players the highest-paid players in their position in the Premiership, you can't do that.

“There is another argument we could sit here and say, which is if England paid them more per game. That would cause some debate in itself because obviously England players are pretty well paid compared to some other nations, but that's another way of bridging the gap.

“What a player does is they add up the whole package. What's happening now, the disparity between the cap, even with international match fees on top, is still pretty big.”