Absent England winger Jack Nowell is expected to be back in action in the next two to three weeks with Exeter following toe ligament surgery last October after his club added Gallagher Premiership title glory to their Heineken Champions Cup success.
The 27-year-old has since missed out on England clinching the 2020 Guinness Six Nations title and then going on to win the Autumn Nations Cup, while he has also been sidelined from Exeter’s efforts so far to win it all again domestically.
However, 16 weeks on from Nowell’s last appearance, Exeter boss Rob Baxter has now confirmed his player is finally nearing a return to play and is not that far away. “Within the next two to three weeks, in that period,” said Baxter ahead of this Saturday’s Exeter game versus London Irish.
“The trouble is now we have got to watch the day by day process happening and see how the loading process builds because he could do maybe half a session and feel stiff and sore from it and miss another session, you see what I mean, so it’s more how he goes through the stages now more than me putting a timescale on it.
“He’s not far off. He was training Tuesday. Not fully but he was doing some team training, so he is going to creep in now to some team training over a period of a week or so.
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) February 10, 2021
“He just needs to make sure that he gets to a loading level that will avoid him injuring not so much the injury because his toe is okay now, but the more he builds his load slowly so we don’t suddenly see a torn hamstring or a torn calf because he is suddenly training and loading at a level and a speed that he is not used to. We have just got to be careful of the process day by day, slow increments increasing those kinds of things in the correct way.”
It’s now October 2019, versus Argentina at the World Cup, since Nowell last played for England, an ankle injury keeping him out of the truncated Six Nations played last spring before the pandemic shutdown. Exeter have a huge fixtures schedule ahead, with league games scheduled for every weekend through to March 26 when they travel to Gloucester, and Baxter is looking forward to the greater choice that the availability of Nowell will give him.
“It does give us more options out wide. Jack has also played some midfield stuff for us so it just starts to give more options right across the backline. He can pretty much play across the backline outside of 10 and scrum-half, although I’m sure he would give it a go if we gave him the opportunity. He pretty much adds an extra player across our backline which is great news.’
"We're only worried about ourselves. We're not too worried about Italy"
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) February 11, 2021
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