Nowell keen to kick on
By Alfie Martin
England and British Lions winger Jack Nowell has praised the work ethic radiating from the Exeter setup – in particular the healthy competition within the playing ranks for game time and the opportunity to represent the Chiefs on the main stage.
In his first appearance in an Exeter Jersey jersey since the Aviva Premiership final last May, Nowell joined the likes of Ben Moon, Dave Dennis, Dave Ewers and Michele Campagnaro in a powerful Braves starting line-up that took on Bath United at Sandy Park on Sunday.
Fighting fit again after undergoing ankle surgery, Cornishman Nowell took little time in reminding supporters of his proven on-field talents, scoring one of his side’s eight tries in their 50-35 victory.
“I’m glad that rehab is over and done with and that I’ve got the first game under my belt,” said 25-year-old. “It’s always nice to put the shirt on. The boys have all worked extremely hard in the off-season to be able to go again and be fit for the start of the new season. For me, just to be able to go out there, pain-free and niggle-free, it's really good.”
Nowell was afforded 40 minutes on his comeback game at the weekend, but he looked in fine fettle as the Braves made it two wins from two in this season’s Premiership Shield, having won at Saracens Storm the previous week.
Post-match, Nowell stated that continuity and motivation are imperative for the Chiefs moving on throughout the season, especially with the standard of rugby being consistent throughout the squad.
“I think for us going forward it’s important that we continue the momentum from the first team wins as well as from this competition,” he added. “We want to make this place a fortress, as it has been for so many years. This obviously includes the Premiership Shield too.”
Lining up in the Braves ranks alongside Nowell were a number of the club’s highly-rated youngsters, including the likes of Richard Capstick, Rus Tuima, Sam Maunder and Marcus Street. All of them are hoping to follow in the stud marks of Nowell, who over the years has come through from the club’s academy to full international status.
With the Chiefs coaching team never afraid to give youth it’s chance, providing they deliver on the field, it’s a healthy pool of talent that now exists within the club’s first-team ranks.
“I think it’s down to the competition for shirts,” continued Nowell. “Every single player wants to play each and every game, so it’s good competition for the boys coming back from injury who want to push into that first team, but also for the young players coming through as well to really show their worth.”