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The 'very open scenario' that will worry Jack Nowell fans at Exeter

By PA
(Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Rob Baxter has admitted he is planning for England wing Jack Nowell to not be part of the Exeter squad next season. Nowell, who has enjoyed a successful ten-year career at Exeter, is out of contract with Chiefs at the end of this term and has been strongly linked with a move to France – following teammates Luke Cowan-Dickie and Sam Simmonds, who will join Top 14 champions Montpellier after the World Cup later this year.

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While Exeter rugby director Baxter says nothing has yet been decided on 29-year-old Nowell’s club future, it would appear a Sandy Park exit is likely. Asked at a club media briefing on Wednesday morning if he was planning to be without Nowell next season, Baxter said: “Yes. I have got to plan that he won’t be here. That is the current situation.

“With Jack, it has been very open in all the conversations. There haven’t been any problems. I am not asking Jack every day what is going on and he is not asking me every day what is going on. The agreement we have got is that if I find a replacement player who I like the look of, we are going to sign them. He is aware of that. Jack is currently looking in the market at what he wants to look at.

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“If he comes back to me pre us signing anybody, we can talk. If he comes back post us signing someone who has replaced him and the salary cap room is not there, then it’s not there. It is a very open scenario. I am assuming he is not here and I think he is assuming he is going.

“As much as there is no contract been signed – and there is no definitive answer for you – we are moving on. If that answers your question, that is all I can say. If Jack turns around to me, walks up and says, ‘Go on then Rob, let’s sit down and try and get a contract’, then I would be delighted.”

Nowell, who is closing in on 50 England caps, made his Exeter debut in 2012 and has clocked up more than 150 appearances. He became the Chiefs’ first British and Irish Lion when he was selected for the New Zealand tour five years later and he has helped Exeter win Premiership and European titles.

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