Luke Cowan-Dickie has had a rollercoaster of a journey over the past few months. In May his move to Montpellier was cancelled over injury concerns which contravened with current French rugby rules. A player cannot be signed by a top or second-division club if they are deemed to have a severe ‘G3’ injury. Unable to prove that the injury was not that severe, the French club had no choice but to cancel the deal.
The Exeter hooker in-limbo has also recently been released from the England camp over similar concerns.
England Head Coach Steve Borthwick was sympathetic about Cowan-Dickie’s situation: “Despite all his incredible work and progress, Luke’s shoulder has not improved sufficiently for him to be considered for selection for the World Cup. We wish him a swift recovery and hope to see him back playing very soon.”
Borthwick did go on to add that he was confident in the future of the player’s involvement within the England squad saying: “he’ll be a big part of English rugby going forward.”
If his deal with Montpellier had proceeded, then the highly experienced hooker would have made himself unavailable for international selection under the current RFU rules. Fortunately for Steve Borthwick, it appears that Cowan-Dickie has found himself a club in England ready to offer him a deal ahead of next season.
Sale Shark’s are understood to have taken the opportunity to sign Cowan-Dickie following a couple of high profile losses to their squad. This has freed up some budget in their wage bill, which like other clubs in the English Premiership, is capped at £5m.
Cowan-Dickie is expected to replace the recently lost South African hooker, Akker van der Merve, who has returned to Pretoria with the Bulls.
This will be a landmark move for Cowan-Dickie. Born in Truro in Cornwall, the 30-year-old has played for Exeter Chiefs since his debut 12 years ago. Despite being dual registered at lower league sides Plymouth Albion and Cornish Pirates in his younger days, he has never worn the shirt of another Premiership side. He will join the likes of England teammate George Ford and former Exeter teammate Tom O’Flaherty up north.