Luke Cowan-Dickie still on track for Montpellier move despite ‘drunk tank’ incident in France

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Exeter hooker Luke Cowan-Dickie was detained overnight in Montpellier last week  (Getty Images)
Exeter hooker Luke Cowan-Dickie was detained overnight in Montpellier last week (Getty Images)

Luke Cowan-Dickie is expected to have the chance to undergo further medical tests linked to his move to Montpellier despite spending a night in a French police holding cell last week.

The England hooker was not arrested but Montpellier’s state prosecutor confirmed he was detained overnight on Wednesday last week, as “the subject of a procedure for manifest and public drunkenness”.

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Exeter front-rower Cowan-Dickie has been battling nerve damage in his neck, and France’s Top 14 has tougher medical rules around such injuries than the Gallagher Premiership.

England still hope to have the 29-year-old fit for the autumn’s World Cup in France, but the nature of his neck injury means a recovery timescale is difficult to set.

Montpellier are understood to be keen to persevere with Cowan-Dickie’s move despite the protracted medical tests, and the unwanted attention around his detainment.

“I’ve had discussions with Luke, and he said he hasn’t failed his medical. It is something that has massively been blown out of proportion,” said Exeter director of rugby Rob Baxter.

“I think he is popping over again just to finish off a couple of bits the French would like to investigate in terms of his injuries. He hasn’t failed a medical, and he hasn’t not turned up for a medical.

“I am not saying it is totally pie in the sky because everything has a little bit of truth in it. But as far as he has not turned up and they’ve rolled up the contract and thrown it away, that is not the case.

“If the element (of truth) is a drink in a bar at some stage, then I would say probably yes. Other than that, I think there has probably been a fair bit of journalistic licence in a few things that have happened.

“I believe they (Montpellier) want some more information on the nerve damage around the last operation.

“All I know is Luke has said there has been a fair bit of over-hype around everything. At this stage, Luke is being told everything is okay. Reports it is all done, and his contract is over couldn’t be further from the truth.”

Cowan-Dickie is at the head of a nucleus of Exeter’s glittering generation that will leave Sandy Park this summer. The 29-year-old has made more than 150 appearances across 13 years of senior rugby with the Chiefs.

Exeter boss Baxter pledged the Devon club would look at how to take care of Cowan-Dickie should his Montpellier move fail to materialise, given his continued injury concerns.

“If it all falls through I would expect us to have a look into the possibilities of trying to, at the very least, look after him during his injury rehab,” said Baxter.

“That would be my expectation. He’s been a very important player for us. We’d look to do something to look after him, of course we would.”