Ewels hopes young guns will an­swer call to arms

The Rugby Paper - - News - ■ By NEALE HAR­VEY

BATH’S stand-in skip­per Char­lie Ewels has chal­lenged his batch of Eng­land hopefuls to boost their Test chances by de­liv­er­ing in Europe.

Ris­ing stars Sam Un­der­hill and Tom Dunn are firmly on the Red Rose radar and Ewels, him­self com­pet­ing among Eng­land’s squadron of locks, be­lieves Zach Mercer, Max Clark, El­liott Stooke and Jack Walker can fol­low suit.

Ahead of Bath’s Cham­pi­ons Cup open­ers against Benet­ton and Scar­lets, Ewels, 22, said: “When (owner) Bruce Craig took over the club a few years ago, he stated he wanted young English tal­ent push­ing through.

“That’s what’s hap­pen­ing and if you look at ex­am­ples like Sara­cens and Ex­eter, hope­fully our group will stay to­gether for a long pe­riod, too. It’s not just about the fu­ture, though, it’s about now and we need all our boys to per­form.

“I feel we’re build­ing as a club now and there are some big games in Europe com­ing up. We weren’t in the Cham­pi­ons Cup last sea­son but this is a club that wants to be com­pet­ing for those hon­ours, so it’s now about us de­liv­er­ing.

“Guys like Jack Walker, Max Clark and Zach Mercer have a real chance to kick-on, while El­liott Stooke’s done re­ally well in our sec­ond row. It’ll be great for these guys to have a chance of proving them­selves at the higher level.”

Ewels, highly rated by Eng­land boss Ed­die Jones, is ea­ger to add to his five caps af­ter star­ring along­side Joe Launch­bury in Ar­gentina.

He said: “The sum­mer was re­ally good and I’ve had a re­ally ex­cit­ing year with Eng­land af­ter go­ing to South Africa with the Sax­ons last year, win­ning my first full caps last Novem­ber and then play­ing along­side Joe in Ar­gentina.

“But I al­ways re­mind my­self that the way you get those op­por­tu­ni­ties is what you do Mon­day to Fri­day and the prepa­ra­tion that goes in. If you then go out and play well for your club on a Satur­day, hope­fully fur­ther things will come.”

Ewels – a mem­ber of Eng­land’s re­cent train­ing squad in Ox­ford along­side Maro Itoje, Launch­bury, Court­ney Lawes and Nick Isiekwe – is keen for an­other crack at the Pu­mas when they ar­rive first-up next month at Twick­en­ham.

He added: “Even though it was just a short camp, the sole fo­cus was Ar­gentina. Train­ing was pretty tough and it was a re­minder of the sharp step up in level you have to make.

“There’s great com­pe­ti­tion among the locks; we all of­fer some­thing dif­fer­ent and af­ter a slow start to the sea­son be­cause of an in­jury and be­gin­ning pre-sea­son a bit later, I feel I’m start­ing to show what I’m about.”

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