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The Top 14-bound Jack Nowell has named his Ultimate Exeter XV

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Bob Bradford/CameraSport via Getty Images)

Jack Nowell has named his Ultimate Exeter XV nearly four weeks after bringing the curtain down on his stellar 12-year career playing in Rob Baxter’s first team. It was 2011/12 when the now 30-year-old debuted and he featured in the Chiefs’ April 30 Heineken Champions Cup exit to La Rochelle, the French club that he is set to join for the 2023/24 season.


He will now sign off at Sandy Park with a sevens event on June 3, a tournament with quite a difference as Nowell and Henry Slade, with whom he is sharing a testimonial, have crafted a series of intriguing attack-minded law tweaks for the eight-team competition organised by Red Bull.

Nowell earlier this week revealed that he will not link up with the England training squad to challenge for a place in Steve Borthwick’s Rugby World Cup squad, explaining instead that his priority will be to get his family moved to France in the summer so that they are settled by the time the new Top 14 season starts.

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In the meantime, he has given an exclusive interview to RugbyPass that will be published this Sunday, a bubbly chat over Zoom from his sunny back garden that wrapped up with Nowell being asked to name his Ultimate Exeter XV.

It’s the sort of question that can take players ages to answer but Nowell rattled off his XV in just over a minute and his choices illustrated the calibre of people that have represented Exeter on their remarkable journey from the 2010 Championship title to clinching a Gallagher Premiership/Champions Cup double in 2020.

“Off the top of my head? I’ll probably miss out on a few boys doing it off the top my head,” he pleaded with a chuckle before getting stuck into naming his selection of all-time Exeter greats. “I’ll leave myself out for this one. I’m going to go number one Alec Hepburn, two Cowan-Dickie, three Hoani Tui. Second rows, I’ll have to go Damian Welch. No, I’ll go Dean Mumm, Geoff Parling. Back row, I’ll go Sam Simmonds, Thomas Waldrom and Dave Ewers all in there.

“Scrum-half Nic White. Fly-half Gareth Steenson. Twelve Jason Shoemark. Thirteen, see I have got to have Sladey [Slade] in there. I’d have 12 Sladey, 13 Sireli Naqelevuki. Eleven? Nenani Nadolo, 15, Phil Dollman and 14 Matt Jess or Santiago Carreras.”


Pick one, Jack? “I can’t… Okay, Matt Jess, he’s a legend.” Sure is.

Jack Nowell’s Ultimate Exeter XV: 15. Phil Dollman; 14. Matt Jess, 13. Sireli Naqelevuki, 12. Henry Slade, 11. Nemani Nadolo; 10. Gareth Steenson, 9. Nic White; 1. Alec Hepburn, 2. Luke Cowan-Dickie, 3. Hoani Tui, 4. Dean Mumm, 5. Geoff Parling, 6. Thomas Waldrom, 7. Dave Ewers, 8. Sam Simmonds.

  • Click here to purchase Red Bull Elevate tickets for the June 3 Nowell/Slade event 

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Jon 3 hours ago
How Maro Itoje terrorised the All Blacks lineout

Yeah England were much smarter, they put their much vaster experience to use in both the scrum (bending/not taking hit) and lineout (Itoje early sacks) law vagaries. Really though, I know what is there, I’m more worried about Englands locks. We only got to see Itoje and Martin, right? Depth allround in the England camp was probably the difference in the series and the drop off when Itoje reached his minutes limit for the season (it was like the plug was pulled from the charger) was up there with keeping Sexton on the park in that quarter final. What happened there? You have a lot of watching hours experience with locks come blindsides Nick, especially with a typical Australian player make up, have you see a six the size of Barrett absolutely dominate the position and his opposition? I can easily see Scott, and even Martin for that matter, moving to the blindside and playing like Tadgh Beirne with the amount of top locks we have coming through to partner Patrick. Still with the English mindset, because despite running the best All Black team I’ve seen in a long time close, they do need to find improvement, and although I thought they had a lot of good performances from their 7’s (over the years), I really like the prospect of Cunningham-South in his 8 spot and Earl on the open. Can you see Martin as mobile enough to take over Lawes? I absolutely loved his aggression when Jordie ran upto him to try and grab the ball. That alone is enough reason for me to try him there.

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