Jump to main content
  • Men' Six Nations
  • Women's Six Nations
  • U20 Six Nations

Three England hookers ready to step up after Luke Cowan-Dickie injury

Three England hookers ready to step up after Luke Cowan-Dickie injury

Luke Cowan-Dickie appeared to have nailed down a spot in Steve Borthwick’s first Guinness Six Nations squad with another superb showing in Exeter Chiefs 35-12 victory over Northampton Saints.

The hooker was named Player of the Match, chipping in with two tries as Chiefs climbed to fifth in the Gallagher Premiership table.

But he departed in the 55th minute with an ankle problem which is likely to require surgery, ruling him out of at least the start of the 2023 Championship.

The 41-cap hooker looked set to battle it out with Jamie George for the right to be called England’s No.2 but the new head coach must now consider his alternatives.

Ahead of England’s squad announcement on 16 January, let’s consider those who could step up in Cowan-Dickie’s absence.

  • Breakthrough Candidates: England

    George McGuigan

    George McGuigan’s try-scoring record makes outstanding reading.

    Only Max Malins topped the 29-year-old’s tally of 15 in the Premiership last season and no forward has scored more than the Gloucester man so far this term.

    Google Ads Manager – Leaderboard

    He has had to bide his time since moving to the Cherry & Whites in December though, with his first start for his new employers coming in the 19-16 defeat to Saracens at the weekend.

    McGuigan was signed to fill the void left by Jack Singleton, who may have been in contention for a spot in Borthwick’s squad had he not suffered a significant lower leg injury earlier in the season.

    He is yet to be capped at international level, having made 21 appearances for Ireland’s junior sides before switching allegiance, though he was called up to Eddie Jones’ training squad prior to the summer tour of Australia.

    A former Leicester Tigers man, he does share something in common with Borthwick, though the pair’s time in the Midlands did not overlap.

  • Nick Evans joins England coaching staff

    Jamie Blamire

    Newcastle Falcons only sanctioned McGuigan’s departure due to their unflinching belief that Jamie Blamire will fulfil his potential.

    Blamire, who is four years McGuigan’s junior, started the season at flanker as Falcons head coach Dave Walder sought to accommodate both players in his side.

    He has been handed the hooker jersey since McGuigan’s departure south and scored in Round 14 and 15 of the Premiership as Falcons continue their flight up the rankings.

    He has six England caps under his belt, the last of which came in the 2022 Championship, and has showcased his try-scoring capabilities by crossing six times in that time, including a hat-trick against Canada.

    For the last two years of the Jones reign, he appeared to have won the fight to be called England’s third-choice hooker and Blamire’s versatility and Test experience could count in his favour when it comes to squad selection.

    Jack Walker

    Captain of the England under-20 side that won the 2016 World Rugby Championship title, it seemed that Jack Walker was destined for a long run in the senior side.

    That has not quite materialised yet but he continues to make strides with club side Harlequins, for whom he made 30 appearances last term.

    He was perhaps unfortunate not to have made the squad that toured Australia last summer, having started the warm-up game against the Barbarians which proved a difficult day for many of Jones’ fringe players.

    He has made the No.2 shirt at Quins his own since signing from Bath in the summer of 2021 and it looks like only a matter of time before he gets the international recognition his domestic performances have merited.