Nowell rules himself out of World Cup

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By Mark Stevens & Liam Heagney

Jack Nowell has ruled himself out of World Cup training squad selection with England, insisting he will make the most of family time before his summer switch from Exeter Chiefs to La Rochelle.

The 30-year-old Cornishman has been part of England's last two World Cup squads, including 2019 when they reached the final under previous coach Eddie Jones, but he has indicated he will be no part of this year's tournament in France.

Nowell, who won his 45th England cap when appearing off the bench last November against the Springboks, was excluded from the Guinness Six Nations campaign by England head coach Steve Borthwick.

Asked on the latest RugbyPass Offload show what his summer plans were now that he was leaving the Chiefs, Nowell said: “No World Cup, I’m not doing the World Cup. I am just going to chill. I need to get my knee sorted. Obviously, it was a bit of a hard decision not to put myself in for selection for the World Cup. I thought it was probably one I had to make for myself and for my family as well.

“We are going to make the most of being back home in Cornwall, we will probably spend the next few weeks there and we have got a testimonial tournament at Sandy Park on June 3 which Red Bull are going to take care of it for us.”

Quizzed further about the reason why he has called it quits with England rather than fight for a place in the 2023 RWC squad, Nowell continued: “Eddie leaving and Steve coming in. I was in contact at the start with Steve and he let me know I wasn’t going to be involved in the Six Nations which was completely fair enough. New coach, new ideas.

“There comes a stage where everyone has got to make a decision about the team, so I was happy with that. It was pretty cool – it was my last year at the club anyway, so I really get to focus on trying to do the best I can for the club and trying to get us into the big games at the end of the season.

“Like I have said, I didn’t have a lot of communication with Steve. To be honest, I didn’t have a lot, so you come to that stage where you are, ‘Right, probably that ship has sailed on me now in terms of the England stuff’.

“The boys did very well in the Six Nations that were playing on the wing and there does come a stage where you do have to start thinking about your family and thinking about your future and stuff like that. I had these opportunities to speak to other clubs and discuss my future. When you do sign abroad, or you do sign anywhere you do get an option to sign pre-World Cup or post-World Cup.

“For me, I made that decision then that it was probably best for my family and myself to sign the contract pre-World Cup. I’m sure it would be a bit different it was I was talking to Steve all the time. Since then, I have spoken to Steve, I had to let him know my decision because I think I was in plans for the World Cup, especially the first get-together as a big squad.

“But I made a decision not to do that and to make sure my family get settled in France and make sure I get settled in France so I get to go to my new club and be the best I can and win some more trophies. As much as I would have liked to have done this one and given it a good crack, sometimes you have to read between the lines and probably understand you are probably not in the coach’s favour.

“Don’t get me wrong, I would have loved to have fought for my position, I would love to have got myself back into playing but family comes first for me, and I had to make sure they are looked after first.”

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