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I'm loving the buzz

By The Cornishman  |  Posted: March 13, 2014

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FOUR caps into his senior international career, Newlyn's Jack Nowell is beginning to look increasingly at home in and England jersey.

But, having helped see off Wales 29-18 at Twickenham last Sunday to keep alive home hopes of a Six Nations championship, the Exeter Chiefs star admits the buzz of playing for his country is still surprising him.

For the second time since the idea was tried against Ireland a fortnight ago, Nowell joined the England squad in walking to the changing rooms through the massed crowds at HQ, this time with Chiefs team-mate Tom Johnson for company.

It was yet another special moment for the 20-year-old, who admits the experience just keeps getting better.

He said: "Playing at Twickenham was just as good as the first time [against Ireland], but even louder, I think. Again, the moment I stepped off the bus it was like: 'Wow, I'm here again'.

"I'm loving walking in with the boys. I had the pleasure of having TJ [Johnson] with me as we walked through the crowd, which was a nice moment I shared with him.

"On the pitch the anthems and the atmosphere again was just ridiculous.

"When we broke through at the start of the game there and the crowd lifted, it was the loudest thing I've ever heard. I'm loving it.

"It was amazing to get the win. I think a big thing for us was to build up from the Ireland game and we did that.

"Obviously we had the week off in between to recover and we came out all guns blazing, with Danny [Care] going over in the first few minutes was how we set up to play, really."

Nowell again played a major part in England's victory, with Luther Burrell adding to Care's try in the first half and Owen Farrell scoring the rest from the kicking tee. Leigh Halfpenny's six penalties from six attempts kept Wales in the contest.

Although Nowell is yet to cap one of his increasingly assured performances with a try, his willingness to attack and discipline in defence drew praise from head coach Stuart Lancaster afterwards.

Nowell ran for 104 metres in the game, and made 15 carries, which put him behind only England full-back Mike Brown, who had a similarly impressive time against Wales.

Of his numbers, Nowell said: "I'm quite happy with that. To be fair, I was just trying to look for the ball as much as possible, really. To get my hands on the ball as much as I did, I'm happy with that. There were a few penalties where I got penalised for holding on, but these things happen in rugby.

"I'm just absolutely over the moon to be playing. There are times in the game when you have to kick the ball back and that's what I did, but then, like Stuart [Lancaster], and the other coaches have said, if there's a chance you should go for it and back yourself.

"It's nice to go into a game thinking that and I'm just glad I had a couple of chances out there, to be honest."

Nowell may get a chance to round off his Six Nations campaign with a score when England visit Italy on Saturday in a game which will help decide who wins the championship.

Once again, he came close against the Welsh, but does not seem unduly troubled about passing personal milestones, so long as his team wins.

He said: "There were a couple of times again when I came close. That moment at the end where Luther [Burrell] was pulling away from me, my calves were burning. I thought he'd got over in the corner, but it was just really important the team got the win.

"Once we were on the front foot, we wanted to stay there. We're all absolutely over the moon to get the win, and the Triple Crown as well."

Johnson joined his Chiefs team-mate on the field in the dying moments, which drew to a close a memorable day for the Sandy Park club, after their defeat of Bath in the semi-finals of the LV= Cup.

Nowell would love only one thing more than to play his club's first major final, on home turf, this Sunday.

"I'd love to play in the final, but obviously our game's on Sunday as well [against Italy], so hopefully I've done enough to get into the team next weekend," he said. "That's my main target now; the big thing for me is to play against Italy. I've got to do my best in training, and hopefully I've done enough to get into the team.

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  • HattieWil  |  March 13 2014, 10:45AM

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