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Ewers ready for England challenge

Dave Ewers admits he will be hard-pressed to appear at the Rugby World Cup in 2015 but would love to add to Stuart Lancaster's squad of united nations.

The Zimbabwe-born number eight will toast 10 years living in Devon by starting for the England XV to face the Barbarians at Twickenham on Sunday.

The 23-year-old fled Robert Mugabe's regime for Ivybridge with his family a decade back, quickly making tracks in Exeter Chiefs' youth system.

Ewers relishes the pace of Devon life as much as the fact England could easily field a starting line-up containing players born in 10 different countries.

"At the moment it will probably be very tough for me to make the World Cup," Ewers told Press Association Sport.

"Obviously I will do everything I can, but Ben Morgan stepped up and had a hell of a Six Nations after Billy Vunipola was injured.

"So I've got a real job on my hands to get into that mix.

"I've got a great opportunity this weekend to put my hand up though.

"If I get rewarded, breaking into the team, whether before or after the World Cup, I would be very proud.

"It's great there are so many quality back-row players.

"Billy and Nathan Hughes, who could declare for England, have gone extremely well, and then Ben Morgan is quality too.

"There's no time to rest on your laurels, that's all it teaches you.

"England is a great mix of backgrounds, but I firmly believe that's one of our strengths."

No sooner had Ewers arrived in Ivybridge than the local community college was affiliated with Exeter's academy.

Former Gloucester prop Robin Cowling quickly took Ewers under his wing, and his mentors have multiplied ever since.

"These 10 years in Devon have gone quickly to be fair," he said.

"I enjoy it down there - I find going up to London a bit scary, there are so many people I would get lost if I wasn't with someone!

"The first time I ever went on a plane was when we moved to England.

"My dad's parents lived down in Ivybridge, so we went straight there.

"Luckily enough Ivybridge College became the academy for the Chiefs, and everything fell into place very luckily for me.

"Rob Gibson was the academy manager for Exeter, along with Robin Cowling, and they pushed me, worked hard with me, and obviously now with Rob Baxter and Rob Hunter at the Chiefs things are going well.

"Robin kept us on our toes, and he's been brilliant for all of us, like Jack Nowell breaking in and Luke Cowan-Dickie going on tour now, a lot of it is down to Robin and Rob Gibson pushing us along.

"I can't say enough good words about Richie Baxter (former Chiefs number eight).

"Not only was he a hell of a player but he was a great bloke to have around, and he taught us all so much."

Uncapped Ewers' Test credentials will come under the greatest scrutiny yet when he lines up against Georgia wrecking-ball Mamuka Gordgodze this weekend.

England do not award caps for matches against the Barbarians, but Ewers knows his growing status for club and country must be reflected in a more mature outlook.

"It's a bit weird to think of myself as a senior player but that's what I have to do to keep moving forward," he said.

"Already there are guys turning up to training who are five years younger than me: they are born in 1995 - and that makes me feel old!

"Making the Saxons squad earlier this season took me by surprise, then to train with the full England squad last week was amazing.

"It's a big step up in intensity, but it's all massively exciting."


From Belfast Telegraph