It has been a terrific return to power for elusive winger Jack Nowell over the past couple of years. After playing his last game for England back in the 2019 world cup, Nowell spent almost 3 years in and out of fitness, plagued with injuries that tormented any chance of a return. It was only in February of this year after some incredible performances for Exeter, that Nowell got the call-up back into the England squad.
Over 1000 days had passed since his last appearance for the men in white, and according to Jack himself, a lot had happened during that time.
“A bloody lot has happened in that time, ‘I’ve had a second daughter, Zimi, who is one and a half now. I got engaged, so there’s a wedding to plan for after the Six Nations.
“Coronavirus happened. It’s scary how long it’s been. I’ve had plenty of injuries and a lot has gone on, but my goals have been the same the whole way through.” he said at the time.
Since his return to the world stage, Nowell has kept himself injury free for the most part, albeit with the odd niggle here and there.
With improved form generally does come more interest from other clubs, there are very few teams in world rugby right now that wouldn’t benefit from Nowell’s expertise. After long-time teammate Sam Simmonds confirmed that is was due to join Montpellier after the 2023 world cup, it was thought by many that the Chiefs winger would join him over the English Channel.
Nowell’s contract with Exeter runs out in June 2023, and the Exeter director of rugby Rob Baxter has spoken to BBC Sport regarding the current negotiations.
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“Conversations have been ongoing with Jack for a while and they’re heading in a direction they’re heading in, I think there’s every chance that he will stay, but I’m not making decisions for him right now.
“Timescales are going to become pressing for decisions to get made for both parties, for him and for us, but they’re not going to happen in the next 24 hours. Those discussions are ongoing and as far as I’m concerned they’re heading along OK.”
Jack Nowell has spent the majority of his career at the Devon club, and has struck up quite the relationship with the coaches and fans alike.
“Jack and I have known each other for a long time, we’ve done a lot of contract discussions in the past – we can have three discussions about it in a day, it’s not a big deal,” added Baxter.
“It’s not like we sit in a room and I push a piece of paper in front of him and say ‘you sign that now or else you walk away’. Contract discussions are never like that and I don’t expect they ever will be.”
“I’m not sitting here for one second saying Jack Nowell’s definitely staying and I’m certainly not sitting here saying he’s definitely going, it’s just an ongoing situation.”
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Relating the situation to that of Sam Simmonds just a few weeks ago, it is clear to see how both players and coaches at Exeter respect each other’s choices.
“It ended up being quite a quick call around Sam Simmonds for various reasons because everything just dropped into place with Montpellier losing a player, with Sam being available, so that was a very easy one once I sat down with Sam,” said Baxter.
“It was almost a non-conversation. It wasn’t a conversation about his contract, it was a non-conversation about his contract, that’s how clear cut it was.
“Those circumstances happen and I’ll be very open and honest with them. We said to Sam straight away ‘you don’t need to think there’s any issue here, if it’s easier to get it done before it all starts to drip and speculation happens, let’s just make the announcement’, which we did. And it’ll be the same with Jack.
“If Jack wants us to make a statement on him leaving we’ll make one, but we’re certainly nowhere near that situation at the moment.”