Cowan-Dickie stakes his claim
By Mark Stevens
Luke Cowan-Dickie says he and his England team-mates have done all they can in their quest to be part of Eddie Jones’ Rugby World Cup squad.
The Exeter Chiefs hooker, together with club-mates Henry Slade, Jack Nowell, Ben Moon and Harry Williams, have spent over a month in camp with the national side preparing for this year’s tournament in Japan - and he capped his first-ever Test start by scoring a try in England’s 33-19 victory against Wales at Twickenham.
Jones will name his 31-man squad tomorrow (Monday) and the Cornish-born forward hopes to be part of the party aiming to lift rugby’s biggest prize.
“For me personally, we’ve all done as well as we can up to this stage,” said Cowan-Dickie. “We’ve trained as hard as we can. We’ve competed for positions. 23 of us got a chance to have a run out today so I think all the boys have put in as much work as they can and now the coaches have got to decide what their best 31 is and everyone’s just got to be happy with it. We’ve been working this hard now for, I don’t know how many weeks, running like I don’t know what! To get a chance to be on that plane, it would be a brilliant, a dream come true.”
In what was the first of four warm-up games England will play before the start of the tournament, Cowan-Dickie admitted there was a good feeling within the camp after they dispatched of reigning Grand Slam champions Wales, ending a 14-game winning streak for Warren Gatland’s side in the process.
“It was a first chance to get a hit-out, play a game, which we’ve all been waiting for,” added Cowan-Dickie. “To come out on top, it was massive. A few of the boys got new caps, so we’re all buzzing for them, it was my first start and yeah, everyone was excited and happy.”
England triumphed at Twickenham with Cowan Dickie rounding off the first half by scoring the simplest of tries after a wayward overthrow from a Welsh line-out on their own line.
He said: “I always look for the overthrows. I just got lucky, it landed in my arms and was a good try.”
Given England’s recent ability to throw away games that they seem to have control of, it was a positive step in Jones’ road map to see a vast improvement in this area, following a resurgent period from Wales after half time.
Cowan Dickie commented, “We had a bit of a patch in the game where we were under the pump a little bit. We had a little chat under the posts and we definitely regained momentum and we came out on top of the game. There’s been games in the past where we haven’t quite got back on top. I think in this game there was a definite turn, and we capitalised on that and got a couple of points on the board.”