Ewers extends Chiefs contract
Wed, 22 Jan 2014 18:19
We can really push on over these next two years
Dave Ewers wants to help Exeter Chiefs become a real force within the English game after he agreed a new two-year contract with the Premiership club.
A product of the club's highly successful academy set-up, the imposing 23-year-old forward has taken his game to new heights this season, not only establishing himself as a first-team regular with the Devon club, but also impressing enough to be named in Stuart Lancaster's England squad.
Ewers' decision to stay at Sandy Park offers yet another boost to Chiefs head coach Rob Baxter, who in recent weeks has also tied down the futures of Ian Whitten, Jack Yeandle, Damian Welch, Tom Johnson and skipper Dean Mumm.
"I'm really pleased to be staying on with the Chiefs," said Ewers. "We've been talking for a little while about the contract, but now it's all sorted I can concentrate on my rugby and what I hope will be a big end to the season.
"It's probably no secret that I like it here and that I feel pretty comfortable. I enjoy being part of the squad and the way the season has gone for me, I just want to build on that over the next two years."
Certainly Ewers has demonstrated this season that he is more than capable of playing at the top end of the game, producing some notable displays both in the Premiership and in the European Cup, the latter of which saw him pick up the man of the match award in the home win over a star-studded Cardiff Blues side.
However, the former Ivybridge Community College student believes there is 'more to come' from him in time.
"I've managed to get into the Saxons squad, which is great, and the club itself is now getting a lot more recognition than before. We're growing in stature all the time and we've got some really good talent coming through the ranks, I suppose my aim is that I just hope to grow with all that.
"Sometimes it all seems a bit surreal and I have to keep pinching myself about where I am, but I know that if I want to go further in the game then I have to keep working hard and looking to improve.
"The coaches here are helping me a lot in that respect, but so are a lot of the senior guys in the squad. Off the field as well you can see the club is moving in the right direction with all the development works here at the stadium, so as a player it's an exciting place to be and play your rugby."
As for the future, Harare-born Ewers insists he has not set himself any major goals in terms of his own development, but feels his career is in safe hands under the guidance of Baxter and his fellow coaches.
"I'll just take it game by game," he said. "I don't want to think I'll do this or that. My aim right now and for that of the next two years at least is to keep improving my game, learn as much as I can from the coaches and those around me, and ultimately see where it takes me.
"As I said, Exeter is a great club to be at and with the squad we have in place, I think we can really push on over these next two years."
Baxter believes Ewers can become a force for both club and country and has vowed to help further develop the powerful back row forward.
"We're really pleased as Dave has been very good for us this year," said Baxter.
"He has come through our academy system over the last few years, but he has really stepped up in the last six months and that has all been capped off with his call-up to the England Saxons.
"From our perspective, we feel we have a player who is very good now, but he is a player who we feel is only going to get better with time."
"Dave has a good attitude; he's a good guy on and off the field, so it's positive all round for us. I think what he - and a few of the other young guys have shown this season - is that you can get England recognition playing here at Exeter. What we want to do now is help develop his game so that he has success not only with us, but also at an international level too."
As Baxter knows, competition for places within the Exeter and England back rows will be intense and it will be up to the youngster to lay down his marker and continue to shine.
"Where he plays is a competitive area, not just here at Exeter, but also for England as well," added Baxter. "What he has done, though, is he has started to step up and he's like a lot of the young guys here, he is gaining experience and using that very well.
"What you will find going forward is that Dave will go through periods as he's playing when he will go through moments when he goes through big leaps and then moments when there is steady progress."
"Take this season for example, he has just experienced a full European Cup campaign for the first time and I know for a fact that he will be a better player for that.
"By the end of this season, he will also have put to bed a full Premiership campaign and he will be a better player for that. He will also have had experience with the Saxons, so everything is very positive about how he is going to gain that experience."
"As we know, he's a big strong guy and offers a real physical presence in there as a well, so from that perspective he has a lot of attributes that complete the package for him as a back row forward.
"As I said, our aim now is to help develop him further and make sure he has that success with us as a club and at international level."
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