Four Test caps off the bench, dating back to the France match at Twickenham in August 2015, have rewarded the emergence of Luke Cowan Dickie. He had an impressive record at international age-group level and since turned in impressive performances for Exeter Chiefs.
2014 brought two career landmarks for Luke, who was chosen for England’s senior summer tour of New Zealand and helped the Chiefs to win the LV= Cup the following March, the club’s first major title in their history. A jarred knee forced him to return home from New Zealand without playing a match but Stuart Lancaster, then England’s head coach, said: “He has been great over the last three weeks and I am sure he will have benefited from being involved in this environment.”
After switching from prop to hooker, he helped the England XV to beat the Barbarians 73-12 at Twickenham in May 2015 in his first major appearance in his new role. He became a member of England’s 39-strong training squad for the 2015 Rugby World Cup and made his Test debut against France at Twickenham soon afterwards.
His second Test cap against Wales last March came on the same weekend when his elder brother Tom wore the No. 2 shirt for England Counties and scored a try in the 32-3 victory over France Fédérale at Blackheath. Luke went on to play in the memorable final 12 minutes of the 2016 Grand Slam-clinching win over France in Paris and the victory over Australia in Brisbane last June. He has also signed an extended contract with the Chiefs and by mid-January this year, had made 49 Premiership appearances and scored eight tries, including a hat-trick against Harlequins in the third match of this season.
Looking back, an appearance off the bench in the 30-28 win over Australia U18 at Sale in December 2009 was the forerunner of a first start at prop, at the age of 16, for Luke in the 33-16 defeat of France at Newbury the following March.
He played 11 times at that level including all three matches in South Africa in the summer of 2010, the Ireland game at Donnybrook in December that year and the tour matches against Australia Academy U19 and Australia A Schools in August 2011. He scored tries against Italy and Australia Academy.
Luke had first appeared for England U20 earlier that year, coming off the bench for Mako Vunipola after 65 minutes in England's 73-3 demolition of Italy at Bath's Recreation Ground. The win helped Rob Hunter's side towards a U20 Six Nations Grand Slam win for the first time since 2008.
His starting debut was in the opening match of the 2012 tournament when Scotland were beaten 59-3 at Firhill, Glasgow before he scored one of England’s six tries in the 40-9 defeat of Wales. He also wore the No. 1 jersey against Italy and France and played off the bench against Ireland when the squad clinched the Six Nations title.
Luke went on to appear in all ten matches at that level in 2011-12 and started every game – three as a prop and two at hooker – in the 2013 RBS 6 Nations, winning man of the match awards against Italy and Wales, when England clinched the title at Colwyn Bay. Next up was the IRB Junior World Championship in June that year when he scored a try in the opening game against France and took his appearances to 20 in the final triumph over Wales at Vannes. His Saxons debut was off the bench against Ireland Wolfhounds at Cork in January 2015.
Truro born and a member of the Exeter Chiefs Academy, Luke studied Sports Performance & Excellence at Truro College, having previously attended Mount’s Bay School and was on loan to Plymouth Albion.
He began playing when six with Penzance & Newlyn, remained there for eight years and already has captaincy experience with teams at school, at the Pirates and at Truro College, as well as Cornwall U16. Former England prop Robin Cowling, Ricky Pellow and Rob Gibson, of Exeter Academy, are the latest coaches to have an influence on his burgeoning playing career.
Their predecessors were initially Nicky Brooks and Pete Lugg at the Pirates and Mak Churcher, Josh Lord, Gareth Tedstone and Will Davies at Truro College. Luke has won player of the year awards with the Pirates and represented Cornwall at age group football.
Back on the field, his memorable matches include that for England U16 against Wales and the player he most admires is, not surprisingly, a Cornish born prop, Phil Vickery. Sandy Park, the home of the Chiefs, is his favourite rugby arena and he played at No.8 until U16 level before switching to prop.
2015 F(R) 2016 W(R), F(R), A(1R)
Last updated: 12 January 2017