Cowan-Dickie will play for Sale next season

England hooker Luke Cowan-Dickie has signed for Premiership side Sale Sharks ahead of the 2023-24 season. The 30-year-old announced he was leaving Exeter Chiefs at the end of the 2022-23 campaign in December but Sale was not the original destination he had in mind.

Cowan-Dickie had agreed a two-year deal with the option for another year with French club Montpellier. However, he has not played since January because of an ankle injury and the medicals at Montpellier did not go to plan.

Cowan-Dickie was reportedly put in a ‘drunk tank’ in France after a night out in Montpellier. Police stopped him for public drunkenness the night before his medical. His rescheduled medical went ahead but was “inconclusive” after a neck issue raised concern for the club.

French clubs have more strict rules surrounding neck injuries. Teams in the top two divisions in the country are not allowed to sign a player if they have a neck injury graded as a severe problem. After the inconclusive medical they backed out of the deal, leaving Cowan-Dickie without a club.

Cowan-Dickie Sale Sharks: What has the player said?

Sale have signed the player for the upcoming season which is good news for England fans. If Cowan-Dickie had moved to France he would not have been eligible to play for England. Now he is staying in the country he will be available for selection.

Read more: What are rugby’s international eligibility laws?

He will not be going to France for the 2023 World Cup though as he has been ruled out with a shoulder injury.

Sale have already added former London Irish captain Agustin Creevy to their hooker ranks following the departure of South African Akker van der Merwe. Ewan Ashman has also left Alex Sanderson’s side for Edinburgh, giving Sale room to accommodate Cowan-Dickie when he became available.

Related: England Rugby World Cup squad

Cowan-Dickie said: “I’ve been at the same club for 13 years and I felt it was time for a change. This is the perfect move for me and I can’t wait to get started.

“I know Jonny (Hill) and Tom (O’Flaherty) from Exeter. They have raved about this club since they came up here. They have told me how good the environment, the lads and the coaching team are so it was an easy decision.

“It’s been a long journey trying to get fit and not knowing where I’d be playing. But I can already see myself being here for a long time.”

Download the digital edition of Rugby World straight to your tablet or subscribe to the print edition to get the magazine delivered to your door.

Follow Rugby World on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.