Jack Nowell: Fit-again Exeter winger could be 'at his peak' for British and Irish Lions tour

By Brent PilnickBBC Sport
Jack Nowell
Jack Nowell played the final 20 minutes of Exeter's win over Wasps last weekend

Exeter boss Rob Baxter says returning England winger Jack Nowell could be "at his peak" in time for the British and Irish Lions tour to South Africa.

The 28-year-old played for the first time in six months in Chiefs' win over Wasps last week after toe surgery last October and a hamstring problem.

Nowell toured with the Lions in 2017 and has won 34 England caps.

"If anything, he could probably enter a Lions tour in the best condition he's ever been in," Baxter said.

"He won't be at the end of a long season, he will be five, six, seven games in if we manage to get into the later stages of the Premiership, so probably absolutely perfect.

"He'll probably be in that golden game time period if he plays through now and gets plenty of minutes.

"He would be absolutely at the peak of his game by the time you get to that Lions scenario."

Nowell has not played internationally since the 2019 World Cup due to injuries and the Covid-19 pandemic.

But Baxter says the Cornish-born winger, who played twice against New Zealand under current Lions coach Warren Gatland on the 2017 tour, has enough time to impress before this year's series in July and August.

"It's down to Warren Gatland but personally I think he's got plenty of time," Baxter added.

"Where he's fortunate is that he's got international pedigree, club pedigree at the highest level and has been on a Lions tour before, so Warren knows him and the character he is and the quality of player he is."

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