Exeter Chiefs hooker Luke Cowan-Dickie will leave the Premiership club at the end of the 2022/23 season to join Top 14 champions Montpellier.
The England international has confirmed that this will be his 12th and final year at the club after signing a deal in France, following current teammate Sam Simmonds.
Leaving with a heavy heart
Cowan-Dickie told Exeter Chiefs’ official website that “it’s gutting to be leaving” having spent his entire Premiership career at the club, and the decision to depart was not easy.
“I’ve been at the Chiefs for 12 years, and it’s all I’ve known. That said, this opportunity came up, and it was one that I had to think long and hard about,” he said.
“I spoke a lot with my family about it, and it wasn’t an easy decision to make in the end.
“Obviously, it’s a different competition, a different language – which I’ll have to learn – but I think it’s time for a change.
“Hopefully, I’ve still got plenty of years left in my career, but this is an opportunity for me to go over there and show what I am all about.”
Ineligible for England
Having to call time on his Test career, for the time being, was something that he had to think long and hard about.
“It definitely came into my thinking,” he said.
“Playing for England is the pinnacle of your career, so it’s tough to leave that behind.
“I still think I have lots more to give and, hopefully, I get more opportunities between now and the move.”
The hooker added that he wants to make the most of what is left of his Test career.
“We’ve got the Six Nations coming up, then the World Cup, and I want to be involved in both,” he said.
“The only way I can do that, however, is by playing well at club level. That’s my aim, and we will see what happens in the future.”
Cowan-Dickie’s success at Exeter
To date, the hooker has made 163 appearances for the Chiefs scoring 36 tries.
He has two Premiership titles lifting the first in 2017 before the historic double of the Premiership and Champions Cup in the 2019/20 season.
His form with the club earned him higher honours as he made his Test debut in 2015 and helped England to a Six Nations Grand Slam a year later.
He regularly featured for England during the 2019 Rugby World Cup, going on to reach the final.
In 2021, he earned a call-up to the British and Irish Lions squad and played in all three Test matches.