Nowell set to return

England and British Lions winger Jack Nowell could be in line to feature for Exeter Chiefs against Bath in Saturday's derby clash at Sandy Park. Picture: @PPAUK

By Mark Stevens

Exeter Chiefs Director of Rugby Rob Baxter has confirmed Jack Nowell could well feature in Saturday’s Westcountry derby against Bath at a sold out Sandy Park.

The 24-year-old has been sidelined for the past two months after undergoing two sets of facial surgery to repair small fractures to his cheekbone and eye socket sustained in his side’s Aviva Premiership victory over Newcastle Falcons in early October.

Nowell’s injury meant the talented Cornishman not only missed some key fixtures for the Chiefs, but also the entire autumn Test series for England, who defeated Argentina, Australia and Samoa on successive Saturdays.

Now, Baxter is ready to welcome the England and British Lions winger back into the fold for this weekend’s crunch encounter between the table-topping Chiefs and third-placed Bath.

“He’s trained fully this week and he’s done contact training,” said Baxter. “The second operation lengthened things out slightly, but it didn’t disturb the fracture site. It’s not been a quick-healing injury but he’s now absolutely fine.”

Nowell is poised to return to a Chiefs outfit who will also be able to welcome back fellow England stars Henry Slade, Sam Simmonds and Harry Williams, plus Welsh prop Tomas Francis, following their efforts in the autumn series.

“I phoned all our international players on Monday and they all said they wanted to play,” said Baxter. “We won’t involve them all because that would mean too much chopping and changing, but it is a very nice problem for us to have.”

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