Luke Cowan-Dickie
Luke Cowan-Dickie scored a try as he captained Exeter for the first time in their win over Saracens last week

Exeter director of rugby Rob Baxter says the time is right for England hooker Luke Cowan-Dickie to take on the captaincy of the club.

It caps a year which saw him start two British and Irish Lions Tests.

“I just feel his leadership, maturity and his personal and collective drive is something that we need at the moment,” Baxter said.

Cowan-Dickie has also established himself as England’s first-choice hooker, although he missed the autumn Test matches against South Africa, Australia and Tonga after injuring his ankle against Wasps in October.

Baxter says the Cornish-born forward, who has come up through the club’s academy and gone on to play 155 times for the club, had been in his thoughts as a potential captain for some time.

“We would probably have done it at the start of the season, but the Lions rest period meant he was unavailable.

“Then not soon after being available, he was injured or due to be away with England, so we had some consistency with Henry [Slade] doing it for a while.

“But as Luke came back fit, I just thought now there was the opportunity, so it was the right time to revert to giving him the captaincy.”

His England and Exeter team-mate Slade, who led the side for the early part of the season, says his fellow Chiefs academy graduate is deserving of the chance to lead the side.

“He’s always been a guy that leads by actions, and some of his actions are inspiring really,” Slade told BBC Sport.

“Some of the hits he puts in, the carries he makes, he’s someone that when you see those sorts of things on the pitch, you want to get behind it.

“That’s what he’s about as a leader, setting the tone with what he does, hoping the boys come with it.”



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