Luke Cowan-Dickie has scaled back his gaming as part of an enhanced professional outlook that has helped propel him into England’s leadership group.
With Owen Farrell missing because of ankle surgery, Courtney Lawes will lead England in Saturday’s Guinness Six Nations opener against Scotland at Murrayfield should he recover from concussion.
If Lawes is ruled out, Eddie Jones will promote one of three vice-captains to the role, a group that is made up of Cowan-Dickie, Ellis Genge and Tom Curry.
While Curry would be favourite to deputise, Cowan-Dickie’s elevation to first choice hooker for England and the Lions mirrors a growing maturity that has seen him sharpen his conditioning, shed weight and now reduce the time spent on his PlayStation.
“I gamed constantly and that has calmed down. Obviously not my say so, more the missus!” said the 28-year-old, whose partner Chloe gave birth to their son during the 2020 Six Nations.
“When I go home now it’s a complete switch-off from rugby, which is nice.
“Beforehand maybe if the game didn’t go so well or training was pretty terrible, I wouldn’t go home and be angry about it all night. Now I’ve got no time to do that so that’s definitely helped.
“As a youngster you go out for a few beers after the games, obviously now with the family and because I’m getting older that’s pretty much stopped completely.
“I’m not quite teetotal but I go three to four months without drinking sometimes. If I’m going to have a drink or a blow out I’ll find the best time to do it.”
Cowan-Dickie has been appointed Exeter captain this season and he is still finding his feet with his additional responsibilities.
“The leadership role is something new for me. I have done a bit at the club but not much,” Cowan-Dickie said.
“A lot of people who know me, I don’t do a lot of talking. I sometimes talk when needed, but I normally leave that to quite a few of the guys in the squad.
“I normally lead on the training field. I’m quite over the top sometimes in training, celebrating and stuff.”