Ewels hopes young guns will answer call to arms
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.”