Luke Cowan-Dickie and coach at odds over England hooker’s ‘perfect’ tackle technique

Colin Newboult
England's Luke Cowan-Dickie preparing to tackle Australia's Noah Lolesio in 2022.

England's Luke Cowan-Dickie preparing to tackle Australia's Noah Lolesio in 2022.

Sale Sharks director of rugby Alex Sanderson was impressed with Luke Cowan Dickie’s first outing for the club but disagreed with the England hooker’s assessment of his own game.

The front-rower has been out of action since January due to ankle and neck problems but made his return in the Sharks’ clash against Bristol Bears last weekend.

Sale overcame Bristol 27-13 in the Premiership on Saturday, with Cowan-Dickie coming off the bench in the second period to play a role in the triumph.

They now have four wins from five matches in the league and have a home encounter against strugglers Newcastle Falcons on Friday to improve on that record.

Involved again

Providing the 30-year-old has no setbacks, Cowan-Dickie may well get another opportunity in the Sale 23, where he is determined to improve on that opening display.

According to Sanderson, the England hooker was “disappointed” he didn’t grab himself a hat-trick before then commenting on his tackling.

Known for going incredibly low, the former Exeter Chief has been criticised in the past for his technique, with some believing it to be dangerous.

“He is disappointed he didn’t score three tries because that is what he said he was going to do. He thinks his tackle technique is absolutely perfect, so he was wrong on both counts. It’s not,” Sale’s boss joked.

“But look, he hurled himself in there. He wasn’t holding back. He was knackered after the game and showing no signs of any wear and tear and repercussions of old injuries and stuff.

“He’s good to go again, and he will go again. He’s fit, and it’s a foregone conclusion he will take the field again.”

Injuries easing at hooker

Sale were down to the bare bones at hooker at the start of the season, but Agustin Creevy’s arrival following the Rugby World Cup and Cowan-Dickie’s return to fitness has eased their concerns.

With another experienced front-rower, Tommy Taylor, also back in action, Sanderson has plenty of options to choose from going into the Newcastle clash.

That means Sanderson does not feel the need to rush Cowan-Dickie back, with the director of rugby seemingly reluctant to throw him in from the start.

“He could start because he is fit enough. But there is smarter ways of reintegration when we have got the strength in depth that we have got,” he added.

“Tommy Taylor is over his concussion protocol now so we have got three experienced hookers that we can call on.”

READ MORE: Jonny Wilkinson reveals that he had ‘opportunities’ to switch to rugby league