Rob Baxter: Reports on Montpellier bound Luke Cowan-Dickie have been ‘blown out of proportion’

·4-min read
Exeter Chiefs boss Rob Baxter has moved to rubbish claims that England hooker Luke Cowan-Dickie’s move to Montpellier is under threat. Credit: Alamy
Exeter Chiefs boss Rob Baxter has moved to rubbish claims that England hooker Luke Cowan-Dickie’s move to Montpellier is under threat. Credit: Alamy

Exeter Chiefs director of rugby Rob Baxter has moved to rubbish claims that England hooker Luke Cowan-Dickie’s move to Montpellier is under threat.

The hooker has been sidelined since January due to an ankle injury and is understood to be suffering from nerve issues in his neck.

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Reports from France suggested that he could be denied the necessary medical clearance to complete his move due to the strict restrictions on neck injuries.

More recently, it was reported that Cowan-Dickie missed a medical in France following a night out on the lash.

‘Blown out of proportion’

Speaking ahead of Exeter’s Champions Cup semi-final against La Rochelle, Baxter dismissed the reports.

“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,” Baxter said.

“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.”

What if Cowan-Dickie’s deal does fall through?

Exeter is preparing for a mass exodus at the end of the season, with several players departing Devon. Sam Simmonds and Harry Williams are set to join Montpellier.

Stuart Hogg, Ian Whitten and Ben Moon have announced their retirements, while Dave Ewers (Ulster), Jack Maunder (TBC), Joe Simmonds (Pau), Sean O’Brien (Munster), Jannes Kirsten (Bulls) and others, including Jack Nowell (La Rochelle), are set to leave the side.

Baxter did confirm that Exeter would try to assist Cowan-Dickie if his Montpellier did fall through.

“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 and go from there. That would be my expectation,” Baxter added.

“He has been a very important player for us; he has played in some significant games for us. We would look to do something to look after him; of course, we would.

“The nerve issue is a timescale one. Historically, they can take a long time, or you can recover quickly. It is a bit ‘how long is a piece of string’?

“I know England are investigating if there is anything they can do to speed up the process, as we are, but it is not a problem that has a definitive answer.”

Jack Nowell returns after expensive tweet

Meanwhile, Baxter is set to have Nowell at his disposal after recovering from a knee issue.

The England back is set to make his first appearance for the side since he was charged and fined £10,000 for his tweet during the Premiership match between Exeter and Leicester Tigers.

Baxter commented on what unfolded: “He [Nowell] is a bit disappointed and frustrated with what happened around his tweet. It was one of those scenarios where he has used incorrect language to express a frustration with the game.

“Anyone who knows Jack, and knows his relationship with referees, will know there was nothing in there personally targeted at the ref.

“It can end up looking like that; he is aware of that, he has apologised for what he did, and he has just got to get on with things now.

“It is a lesson for other players that sometimes you can react in the heat of the moment. You have just got to be careful what you say.”

READ MORE: All Blacks: How the new coaching ticket has influenced the global head coach market

The article Rob Baxter: Reports on Montpellier bound Luke Cowan-Dickie have been ‘blown out of proportion’ appeared first on Planetrugby.com.