Chiefs coach Baxter believes Nowell adds something special to England
Jack Nowell can help add a new dimension to England’s attacking play as Stuart Lancaster builds towards Rugby World Cup 2015, according to Exeter Chiefs head coach Rob Baxter.
Baxter believes Exeter wing Nowell’s debut went “extremely well” as England were edged out 26-24 by France in Paris last Saturday.
France plundered two early sucker-punch tries from wing Yoann Huget, Nowell’s knock-on leading to the first and a cruel bounce evading Nowell and Alex Goode for the second.
Chiefs boss Baxter hailed Nowell for shrugging off that start and adding to England’s attacking threats though, backing him to become an international mainstay.
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“I thought it went extremely well,” said Baxter of Nowell’s debut. “England were one minute away from winning a game over in Paris where they came from behind.
“And I think we’d all be wondering whether this was, not the start of a new era, but the start of a new England in a way, building towards the World Cup.
“Because they certainly played some very good rugby, and I think some of the new players in there played extremely well, including Jack.
“I thought he added something England haven’t had for a while, which is just an ability for someone just to be beating tackles and giving a team momentum.
“Not just standing out on the wing and finishing something if it comes along, but getting involved in the game and giving the team momentum.
“That’s what he does for us, that’s what he did for England, and of course he defended extremely well.”
Nowell has been retained in England’s squad to face Scotland at Murrayfield this weekend, with England head coach Stuart Lancaster due to name his side this morning.
If Nowell is among the starters, as expected, Baxter is confident the 20-year-old will build on his international start in Edinburgh.
“He adds something to that side and he will only get better and I think that’s a massive positive for him and for England,” said Baxter.
“The frustrating thing is that England were one thing away from celebrating a win in Paris. The way the game started, with injuries picked up, that would have been a fantastic victory.
“It feels a little strange now when people talk about mistakes that got made during the game. Yes there were mistakes during the game and you want to be better, but if you look at it as game one of 20 building towards the World Cup, I think it was a very good foundation.
“I had a chat with Jack before he went away, telling him to enjoy it and show the character he has.
“You’ve got to grab it with two hands, you’ve got to show through everything you do that you’re comfortable stepping into the international arena and I think he’s done that.
“The important thing is for him to be himself, and be strong enough to bring his main attributes to the game.
“And I think he did that really well against France.”