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Down-to-earth Jack Nowell proud to play leading Six Nations role for England

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: March 07, 2014

By Bill Sobey @billsobey

Down-to-earth Jack Nowell proud to play leading Six Nations role for England

Cornish Exeter Chiefs wing Jack Nowell

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When you are with Jack Nowell, it is easy to forget you are in the presence of a rugby superstar, with the whole of Cornwall desperate for him to succeed.

The Exeter Chiefs wing, still only 20, has been named in England’s starting XV for their make-or-break Six Nations match with Wales on Sunday.

But he could easily have been confused with any other young Cornish lad, sat in the stand at Mennaye Field last week, watching some of his old Cornish Pirates mates beat Jersey.

People were glad to see him back home and wished him well, but it seemed as much a pleasure for him. Indeed, he almost appeared slightly star-struck as he proudly showed off a picture of himself with Cornish comedian Kernow King, taken at half-time and immediately tweeted to thousands of followers.

“It was fantastic to come home,” he said. “I know people have been supporting me and it has been nice to talk to people, but it’s great that nothing changes and I get treated just the same.

“There have been a few times, while I was at home, when it would suddenly dawn on me that I’ve got to go back up to London and join up with the England boys again.

“Everything just happened so quickly for me. It was one of my big goals while growing up and it was only last summer that I was out playing for England Under-20s.

“Exeter have put me in the right positions with the right stepping stones along the way.

“The big thing for me was actually going down to Redruth. That was my first involvement in senior rugby. I was a 17-year-old playing against men and that really got me ready to go up to Exeter after leaving college. Since then, I’ve obviously been at Plymouth and then at Pirates – I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.”

Although Nowell seems almost oblivious to his own growing fame, his rapid progress and level of performance on the pitch during the Six Nations suggests he knows exactly what he’s doing.

And it is not just what he has done, it is the way he has gone about his work that has made everyone back home so proud.

The first ten minutes of his England debut against France were as difficult as you could ever see. Early mistakes were severely punished and he had to stay as tough as Cornish granite to get himself back in the game against top-class opposition.

As England coach Lancaster said himself: “As a 20-year-old lad, he’s pretty impressive. He’s a tough little man.”

Nowell said: “The big thing the coaches have picked up on with me is that, yes, I have made mistakes in my first couple of games but I didn’t let it affect me.

“They said I had gone out there and done exactly what was asked – made tackles, made the yards and played my game. I’ve been coming off my wing and haven’t hidden in my shell if I’ve made a mistake.

“It would have been very easy in the France game early on to have made those mistakes and dwelled on them for the rest of the game. But I would have been looking back on that now having not played again and not won those two other caps against Scotland and Ireland.

“The big thing we all learned against France was to play the full 80 minutes and we saw that in the Ireland game. By doing that, and learning from the first game, we are in a position where it is all wide open as we head into the Wales game.”

And even if he scores the match-winning try at Twickenham, you can be certain it will be the same Jack Nowell who eventually heads back to a proud Cornwall.

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