Nowell 'so close' to playing return

nowell pitch gi.jpg
Exeter Chiefs, England and British Lions star Jack Nowell was forced to miss last Saturday's Premiership clash with Leicester Tigers due to a hamstring niggle. Picture: Getty Images

By Mark Stevens

Rob Baxter says Exeter Chiefs and England winger Jack Nowell is ‘so close’ to a playing return with the Gallagher Premiership league leaders.

The Cornishman sat out his side’s 26-13 victory over Leicester Tigers last weekend with a slight hamstring niggle, but Director of Rugby Baxter insists it won’t be long before supporters see the talented back out on the pitch.

With testing away days at Sale Sharks (this Friday) and Bristol Bears (next Tuesday), Baxter hasn’t ruled out that the 27-year-old could feature.

Speaking at his media briefing ahead of the Sharks clash, Baxter said: “We’re monitoring him closely. It is early to be risking anyone you think is not bang on, so we’ll make that call when we know he’s absolutely ready.

“Right now, it’s so close. I’d almost say that there is no worry about Jack being fit because it’s so close as to whether we pick him or not. He’ll certainly be fit following this weekend.”

Meanwhile, Baxter remains hopeful that Ollie Devoto’s ankle injury, sustained in Saturday win against the Tigers, is not a major concern.

“It’s still a bit early to tell, but we’re hopeful it’s not too serious,” added Baxter. “How he responds over these couple of weeks will determine if it’s a three of four-week injury, or if it’s longer that that.”

Scrum-half Stuart Townsend is also continuing his recovery from an elbow injury he picked up during one of the two in-house games the Chiefs held ahead of their restart fixture last weekend.

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