Jack's joy at England call-up
Jack's joy at England call-upSHARE
Exeter Chiefs back Jack Nowell has admitted he was "amazed" to hear that he has been named in Stuart Lancaster's England Six Nations squad.
Alongside club-mate Tom Johnson, the 20-year-old Cornishman has been promoted from the England Saxons ranks into the full senior ranks.
Nowell's elevation is just reward not only for a sparkling season to date, but also his efforts in the past 12 months which have seen him not only establish himself as a regular starter for the Chiefs in the Premiership and Europe, but also help England Under-20 lift the Junior World Championships last year.
"Obviously I'm amazed by the news, it's something I've wanted ever since I was a little kid," said Nowell, who started his career as a youngster at Penzance-Newlyn's Mini/Juniors.
"There had been a lot of talk beforehand that I could be involved, but without being rude to people I just tried not to pay attention to it all.
"To find out the news and be named in the squad is certainly a big honour and it's like a dream come true for me."
Nowell's undoubted talents, together with his commitment and drive to succeed, have been noted not only by those in and around the Chiefs camp, but also further afield with Lancaster himself visiting Sandy Park last week to run the rule over a number of the current Exeter squad.
His impressive club form, coupled with some outstanding displays for England's Under-20 last season in both the Six Nations and Junior World Championships, have helped to elevate not only Nowell to a wider audience, but also his club-mates Henry Slade, Sam Hill, Luke Cowan-Dickie and Joel Conlon.
"It all started really from the Junior World Cup and getting the win out there," added Nowell. "I came back from there and Rob [Baxter] gave me a little bit of time off after that to get myself right again. At the time I was a little frustrated because I wanted to be playing, but to get back playing and in the Chiefs squad again was massive for me and it's helped me get to this position."
Truro-born Nowell was one of eight players, including fellow Chief Tom Johnson, who Lancaster today elevated from the Saxons into the main EPS squad – and he hopes his rise will bring further reward in the coming weeks and months ahead.
"We had our first Saxons camp a couple of months back and for me just to get into that squad was awesome and something I didn't expect at the time," he continued. "When we were up there, the coaches said to us all they expected us to go back to our clubs and just keep doing well and play your best, so luckily it's all paid of for me."
Nowell heads up an exciting group of English talent that has been developed by the Chiefs in recent years and his rise should serve as the example for others in the region to follow.
"It was good having the five of us in the Under-20 last year, but TJ [Johnson] was the first of the boys at the club to make it through to the full senior ranks," continued Nowell. "It shows just how far the club have come that we now have myself and TJ in the full squad; Sladey and Dave [Ewers] in the Saxons and then a few others pushing hard behind them.
"The other thing that's funny is when I was growing up the only people from Cornwall that seemed to get into the squads were props, people like Phil Vickery and Trevor Woodman, so it shows that rugby down here is getting better and the stepping stones we do take are in place, it's just up to the individual whether or not they want to take them and go as far as they want to.
"The work being done in the colleges at Truro, Bicton and Ivybridge is fantastic and it's not just the group I was involved with that has come through, but there are others following us and that can only be good for the Chiefs and hopefully England as well."