Luke Cowan-Dickie: Exeter hooker is 'special', says Graham Dawe

Luke Cowan-Dickie
Cowan-Dickie had to leave England's tour of New Zealand last summer with a knee injury

Former England international Graham Dawe has welcomed Exeter Chiefs hooker Luke Cowan-Dickie's inclusion in the World Cup training squad.

Cowan-Dickie, 21, was named on Wednesday among the 50-man preliminary squad for this autumn's tournament.

Dawe, who is in his second spell in charge of Plymouth Albion, coached him during a loan spell at the Devon club.

"He's a special player, so let's hope he goes well," the 55-year-old told BBC Radio Cornwall.

"Being a Cornishman as well - for anybody this far west it's great news to get into the England squad."

Dawe won just five caps for his country but still appeared at both the 1987 and 1995 World Cups.

Cowan-Dickie is one of four uncapped players included in Stuart Lancaster's squad, along with Chiefs team-mate Henry Slade, rugby league convert Sam Burgess and Saracens forward Maro Itoje.

Dawe, who also coaches the Cornwall county side, has also worked with Slade and Newlyn-born wing Jack Nowell, with all three Exeter players spending time at Albion on dual-registration terms.

Henry Slade
Slade was named 'discovery of the season' at this year's Premiership Rugby Awards.

"I really enjoyed their company," added Dawe. "I remember playing a game up in the London area and these three guys came with us, playing for the second team, and we won 94-0. The other team didn't know what happened."

Having spent around two years as a forwards consultant at Saracens, Dawe also has first-hand experience of 20-year-old Itoje, who has had an impressive debut season with the Premiership side.

"He's very athletic, he could be a decathlete probably. I guess he's such a phenomenal rugby player that he can play in five positions on the park," he said.

"He's fearless, delivers well out of the lineout and his standing jump is enormous, but whether he'll make the final squad is another matter."