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Jack Nowell to join La Rochelle - report

By Ian Cameron
Jack Nowell - PA

Exeter Chiefs winger Jack Nowell is reported to be moving to French Top 14 club La Rochelle, according to The Daily Telegraph.

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Long rumoured, this move would make him the latest senior Chiefs player to head to the exit, following hot on the heels of Luke Cowan-Dickie, Sam Simmonds and Harry Williams, as well as host of other squad members.

Nowell had openly spoken out his ongoing negotiations with the Chiefs, having recently said it was his preference to stay provided he was offered a deal that met his expectations.

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Exeter Chiefs, along with other Premiership teams, have been forced to reduce their wage bill to keep within new lower salary constraints. Furthermore, the team is undergoing changes after a shaky season, which has begun to turn around in recent weeks. It is unlikely that the Devon-based side would have been able to offer the England international the sum he could demand in the money-rich French league.

Nowell had been a regular England international under Eddie Jones, but has not appeared in the disastrous start to new coach Steve Borthwick’s team.

If Nowell, who can play across the back three, does move to France, along with his departing colleagues, it would likely spell the end of his England career, as overseas players are ineligible for selection for the national team under RFU rules.

Neither Nowell, La Rochelle or Exeter Chiefs have confirmed the move.

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“The truth is – and there is no secret to this – we’ve had to cut a lot of money off the wage bill,” said Exeter director of rugby Rob Baxter over the wekend. “The reduction from the £6.4m to £5m, together with all the trimmings around credits for homegrown players, international players, marquee players, I think people will be surprised how much we have had to trim down as these contracts unwind.

Currently sitting in sixth place in the league table, the Chiefs are set to face London Irish in the Premiership Cup final this weekend.

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