There has been yet another twist in Luke Cowan-Dickie’s transfer saga as Montpellier have reportedly cancelled his contract, leaving him without a club ahead of next season.
His move to the French side has been a hot topic of late after he missed a medical exam with a neck injury, putting his switch in doubt.
The move is off
In the latest twist, Montpellier have been forced into cancelling Cowan-Dickie’s two-year contract, with an option of a third year, according to Midi Olympique.
The 29-year-old has been out of action due to an ankle injury he sustained during a match against Northampton Saints in January. As a result, he was unable to play for Exeter Chiefs for the rest of the season and also missed England’s Six Nations campaign.
However, it is a neck issue that has stopped him from joining Montpellier next season. Last week, he had his rescheduled second medical examination at Montpellier after initially missing it after a drunken night out.
The report states that the examination outcome is ‘inconclusive’ and has forced the Top 14 club to cancel his contract. His neck injury is said to be impacting the strength of his right arm.
It’s understood that the medical examination is required to provide conclusive proof that the injury is not a rated G3. This does not mean that the hooker will be forced into retirement, just that he cannot sign with a French team until his injury is no longer rated G3.
France hooker Christopher Tolofua had a similar injury that forced him to leave the Top 14 and join Saracens. Once he had corrective surgery, he returned to France, joining Toulon.
Similarly, Virimi Vakatawa had a ‘cardiological anomaly’ that was rated G3, forcing him into retirement.
Staying at Exeter?
Cowan-Dickie could remain at Exeter Chiefs beyond this season, with director of rugby Rob Baxter stating earlier this month that the club would assist him in any way they could.
“If it all falls through [the contract], I would expect us to have a look into the possibilities of trying to, at the very least, look after him during his injury rehab and go from there. That would be my expectation,” Baxter said.
“He has been a very important player for us; he has played in some significant games for us. We would look to do something to look after him; of course, we would.
“The nerve issue is a timescale one. Historically, they can take a long time, or you can recover quickly. It is a bit like ‘how long is a piece of string’?”
With the move seemingly off the table, Montpellier turned their attention to finding a replacement.
They are set to swoop for Wallabies and Waratahs hooker Tolu Latu. The 30-year-old returned to Australia for the 2023 Super Rugby Pacific season after Stade Francais terminated his contract early for off-field alcohol-related issues and on-field discipline.
According to The Rugby Paper, Sale Sharks were interested in signing the hooker, but Montpellier look set to beat the Premiership side to his signature.