- Exeter Chiefs No.8 ready for Wolfhounds challenge
- “It’s been a bit of a surreal season for me so far. I guess it's been quite a rise” – Ewers
Dave Ewers is the latest member of Rob Baxter’s blossoming Exeter Chiefs squad to be rewarded with international recognition, and the 23 year-old – who starts at No.8 for England Saxons against the O2 Ireland Wolfhounds on Saturday (January 25, kick-off 5pm) – wants to show his sparkling domestic form has been no fluke.
Zimbabwean-born Ewers has been a revelation in the Aviva Premiership this term, starting 11 of his club’s 12 matches and providing a physical edge to Chiefs’ fast-paced game-plan with some extremely strong carrying.
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And in his first full season in the top flight after a stint with Championship outfit Cornish Pirates, the 23 year-old has impressed enough to earn this chance at Kingsholm.
“It’s been a bit of a surreal season for me so far – the first proper one where I’ve been starting for Chiefs,” he said. “I guess it’s been quite a rise.
“It’s been good so far – obviously I don’t know many of the other boys outside the ones from Chiefs, apart from having played against them. So it’s been good to meet them all properly.”
One of a number Devon youngsters making rapid progress through the national set-up – scrum half Dave Lewis as well as Junior World Championship-winners Sam Hill and Henry Slade are also in the Saxons’ match-day 23 – Ewers attributes clarity of coaching as a key factor in his development.
“I’ve been down in Exeter a while now and I feel very comfortable with what’s expected of me from Rob [Baxter] and Ali [Hepher].
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“[The other players’ promotion] is testament to the academy system that’s been built up. Sladey, Hilly and myself are here and there’s obviously Jack Nowell with the senior squad plus a whole lot more coming through. It’s exciting times.”
Having also been a prominent part of the Chiefs’ dogged Heineken Cup campaign that saw two close-fought encounters with reigning champions Toulon, Ewers has already shown he can mix it with some of the world’s best.
Containing 17 players with Test caps – including British and Irish Lion Simon Zebo among the replacements –the Wolfhounds party has been selected from Joe Schmidt’s wider training group for the RBS 6 Nations and will present a stern obstacle.
As he works towards his dream of a full cap, Ewers knows he will have to be at his most abrasive and powerful.
“Last year a couple of the guys that played in the Wolfhounds game went on to play for Ireland in the Six Nations so it’ll be a big test and hopefully I can come out of it alright.
“I just have to keep doing what I’m doing and learning whenever I come away to these Saxons camps. Hopefully I can [win a senior cap] one day.”