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England eye Zim rugby star


ZIMBABWE-BORN rugby star Dave Ewers could become the latest player to feature for a foreign country, after catching the eye of England coach Stuart Lancaster following an impressive run for Exeter Chiefs in the Aviva English Premiership.


Ewers is eligible to play for the Lions by virtue of having had a principal residence for that country for the past eight years.

After just six starts in the Aviva Premiership, including last week’s man-of-the-match display in the Exeter win at Gloucester, Ewers (22) is already being seen as a serious contender for England honours.

Lancaster was full of praise for Ewers, saying: “He has played well in two games.

We need consistency in order to make changes. But when players start making that consistency in the Premiership and in Europe over the next two weeks, it’s hard to ignore them really.”

Yesterday, Ewers was set to make his debut in Europe’s premier club rugby competition, the Heineken against Cardiff at Sandy Park where he was expected to contend with England captain Sam Warburton in the opposition back row.

Despite earning praise from the England coach, Ewers said his main focus at the moment would be on improving his game and had not made up his mind yet on which country he would represent — a hint that he might be considering representing Zimbabwe.

“It was nice to hear that Stuart Lancaster was talking about me, but I don’t think I’m ready for that yet. I’m not even thinking about Test rugby, let alone who I could play for,” he said in an interview with The Daily Mail.

Ewers, born in Harare and raised in Mutare, started playing rugby aged nine at Hillcrest Preparatory School where he also enjoyed cricket and hockey.

However, like the current Australian rugby team captain David Pocock, Ewers and his family left Zimbabwe after losing their farm during the farm invasions.

Ewers was only 14 when he left Zimbabwe in 2004.

While in England, Ewers attended Ivybridge School in Devon before developing rugby career and being accepted into the Chiefs academy where he excelled.

“My mum and dad came to England, but everyone else is still back home,” Ewers said.

“On my mum’s side of the family everyone lost their farms and where my dad was working the farm was taken over.

“It was an incredibly sad time for everyone, very difficult, but luckily we came here and things have worked out amazingly well.”

Ewers said he was inspired by what Pocock achieved.

“It was a big move to make at 14 and I did struggle to come to terms with it all for the first two or three years.

“But the situation is what it is and if you look at David Pocock and other Zimbabweans, they’ve done very well for themselves,” he said

“I’ve been blessed to get a chance in rugby and hopefully I can follow in David’s footsteps.”

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