England hooker Luke Cowan-Dickie will leave Exeter at the end of this season to join French champions Montpellier.
Cowan-Dickie will be eligible for next year’s World Cup, but England’s current selection policy for players plying their trade overseas means he is unavailable after that tournament when he links up with Montpellier.
His move to France was confirmed by the Chiefs, and he will join current Exeter and England colleague Sam Simmonds at Montpellier next term.
Cowan-Dickie has been a key part of the England set-up under head coach Eddie Jones, winning 42 caps.
“Playing for England is the pinnacle of your career, so it’s tough to leave that behind,” he said.
“I still think I have lots more to give, and hopefully I get more opportunities between now and the move.
“We’ve got the Six Nations coming up, then the World Cup, and I want to be involved in both.
“The only way I can do that, however, is by playing well at club level. That is my aim, and we will see what happens in the future.
“I have been at the Chiefs for 12 years, and it is all I’ve known.
“That said, this opportunity came up and it was one that I had to think long and hard about. I spoke a lot with my family about it, and it wasn’t an easy decision to make in the end.
“Obviously, it is a different competition, a different language – which I will have to learn – but I think it is 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.”
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