Autumn internationals: Jack Nowell delighted to make England squad
Exeter Chiefs wing 'over the moon' to get back into England contention after summer surgery
Exeter Chiefs wing Jack Nowell is delighted to get an opportunity to return to the England team after being named in Stuart Lancaster’s squad for the autumn Tests.
The 21-year-old, who made his senior England debut in February and played in all five of their Six Nations matches, has suffered with should and knee problems since and had surgery over the summer, ruling him out of England’s tour of New Zealand.
Despite the form of a glut of England wingers in the opening seven matches of the season, Nowell has seen off challenges from Chris Ashton, Dave Strettle and Christian Wade to make the 33-man elite squad.
“I’m over the moon to be in the squad; it’s all very exciting,” Nowell said. “I think the big thing for me at the end of the Six Nations was that I knew I had to have a knee operation at the end of the season, and to get back into the squad was one of my big goals.
“Having the operation during the summer, I knew I would have a bit of time at the start of the season, so I was a bit worried about that, but here at Exeter they’ve given me the best chance to come back and be physically and mentally fit.”
Since his return with the Chiefs, Nowell has helped the club climb into the Premiership’s top three after six rounds, but faces a battle to make the starting XV for England’s opening match with New Zealand at Twickenham on Saturday 8 November with Bath Rugby wing Semesa Rokoduguni also in form.
“There are a lot of boys on form at the moment,” Nowell added. “Rokoduguni has played awesome this season and deserves his plac,; Jonny May I played with last year, and Marland Yarde is another top quality winger, so there is plenty of competition to get the shirt.”
Like every Englishman, Truro-born Nowell also has an eye on next year’s Rugby World Cup squad, having scored a try against Wales in the 2013 IRB Junior World Cup final.
“Obviously the World Cup is a goal for everyone, but first and foremost you have to worry about the here and now,” he said.
“The priority for me is to try and play in these autumn internationals and then the Six Nations, then hopefully do enough to put my hand up for the World Cup.
“What I’ve learnt already from being in the whole England set-up is that you have to play your own game. I think the whole reason the coaches pick you is for what you do at your club.
“When you’re away with them in camp or away playing, the coaches expect you to be yourself and do the same as you would do at a club because that is what has got you picked in the first place.
“Personally, I still pinch myself every time I’m involved because the moment you start relaxing and expecting stuff, that’s when things will slip away from you. For me, the big thing I always work on is doing the basics first and if it happens, it happens.”