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Another plot twist rocks Luke Cowan-Dickie's French move

By Ian Cameron
(Photo by Ryan Hiscott - Pool/Getty Images)

French media are once again reporting that Luke Cowan-Dickie could be set to find himself without a club for next season after Montpellier cancelled his contract.

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The Exeter hooker’s move to the French club has been under scrutiny in recent weeks due to a legacy neck injury, with stringent local laws meaning there are question marks over his ability to play professional rugby in France.

Last month Cowan-Dickie missed a scheduled medical examination with Montpellier – allegedly after a boozy night on the tiles – which caused doubts about his transfer in the French press. While the situation was downplayed as a media-lead exaggeration by Exeter director of rugby Rob Baxter, it appears the deal may have hit the rocks once again.

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The Exeter hooker’s rescheduled medical examination was scheduled last week, and according to a report by Midi Olympique, the result was ‘inconclusive’. Reports claim that this will force Montpellier to cancel the player’s two-year contract, with an option for a third year, due to the neck injury, which has affected the strength of his right arm.

The 29-year-old had been out of action with an ankle injury he sustained in January, and he missed the rest of the season for Exeter Chiefs as well as England’s Six Nations campaign.

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The medical examination was necessary to provide conclusive proof that the neck injury is not a rated G3, which means that he cannot sign with a French team until his injury is no longer rated G3.

There is precedence for returning from such a ruling to play in France – Christopher Tolofua returned to Toulon after a year with Saracens in which he overcame a G3 ruling over a neck issue.

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While the cancellation of his contract with Montpellier leaves Cowan-Dickie without a club, it does not mean that he will be forced into retirement. The player may still have opportunities to play in other leagues like the Premiership, URC or Japan or return to Exeter Chiefs with his tail between his legs. He could also, as with Tolofua, seek to have the issue rehabilitated and return to France down the line.

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