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Cowan-Dickie the latest Chief set to exit English rugby - reports

By Ian Cameron
Luke Cowan-Dickie of England show some battle wounds after the game during game one of the international test match series between the Australian Wallabies and England at Optus Stadium on July 02, 2022 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by James Worsfold/Getty Images)

Exeter Chiefs hooker Luke Cowan-Dickie appears to be the latest England international who is set to leave English rugby for France.

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Will Kelleher in The Times reports that Cowan-Dickie is set to join Sam Simmonds in Montpellier after the Rugby World Cup – a move which will affectively end his England career.

It’s a move that’s more surprising considering the 29-year-old is vying for the England No.2 jersey with Saracen’s veteran Jamie George (32). Cowan-Dickie is in poll position to overtake the Saracens man when a new England head coach is introduced a year from now.

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It’s understood that Chiefs would be highly unlikely to have been able to compete with the reported £300,000 per season salary that Cowan-Dickie is set to earn at MHR. Gallagher Premiership sides are facing a salary cap pinch and the reduction of two marquee players to one this season.

The front-rower will join Exeter teammate Simmonds, whose move to Philippe Saint-André’s side was revealed in September.

The news comes as Exeter Chiefs face their own financial challenges off the pitch. Today the club confirmed that they had sold a percentage of shares in the Sandy Park Hotel to service a debt accrued during the pandemic.

A statement published on the club website reads: “Members of Exeter Rugby Club on Wednesday night passed a resolution for a percentage of shares in Sandy Park Hotel Limited to be sold to club chairman and chief executive, Tony Rowe OBE.

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“The sale of the shares mean Mr Rowe now has a majority stake of Sandy Park Hotel Limited moving forward, but that the Rugby Club itself still maintains a sizeable percentage of the shares themselves.

“The fee paid for the shares by Mr Rowe not only provides an injection of capital to keep cash flow going, but will also help service substantial debts accrued by Exeter Rugby Club due to the impact of the Covid pandemic in 2020.”

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