Exeter Chiefs star Jack Nowell says he has never “felt so good” on a rugby pitch after he marked his return to competitive action.
Exeter Chiefs star Jack Nowell says he has never “felt so good” on a rugby pitch after he marked his return to competitive action by claiming a try-double in Monday's 'A' League victory over London Welsh.
The England international has been sidelined since March with injuries to both his shoulder and knee, but he showed within minutes of his return that he was firing on all cylinders and itching to return to first team duty.
The Cornishman featured for 34 minutes as the Exeter Braves – who also added tries through Ceri Sweeney, Tom James, Jack Arnott, Sam Skinner and Joel Conlon – easily disposed of London Welsh 45-7 to record their first 'A' League win of the season.
For Nowell, just getting back out onto the park was a milestone in itself after months and months of watching from the sidelines. However, claiming Exeter's opening two tries on the night merely added to a happy return for the talented back.
“I really enjoyed myself out there. I have been itching to get back on the pitch for 19 weeks now, and I really wanted to try and get back into my own game and I didn't really want to let this break affect me,” said Nowell.
“It's always nice to score a try in one of your first games back, old Sweenhead [Ceri Sweeney] put me in the gap and I was able to go over.
“I know the physios and the coaches have been looking after me, but I've never felt so good out on a rugby pitch. To come back and have my first game back here at Sandy Park – and to have that support for an A League game was just amazing.”
Nowell hopes his brief cameo will be the stepping stone to him reclaiming a spot back within the Chiefs first team, but he knows the way his team-mates have been performing in recent weeks means it will be no easy task for the 21-year-old.
“The way the first team are playing, though pre-season and in the two Premiership games, the boys have been playing awesome,” added Nowell.
“First things first, if I get another chance in the A League then it's up to me to show what I can do. I just want to carry on playing and try and get my space back on the wing.”
Just how long Nowell will have to wait will depend obviously on the Chiefs' coaching team, but they will no doubt have noted his impressive display on Monday evening.
“I've been telling the coaches for the last six weeks that I've been fit and to put me out onto the pitch so I can play,” said Nowell.
“But they said I wouldn't be going anywhere until I was 100% and to be fair I thank them for it now. At the time I wasn't all that happy, but I've had the break I needed and I know from just being out there again, how I'm feeling now and it's great.”