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Ewels keen to retain Bath Rugby captaincy

Charlie Ewels may have been considered a surprise choice to captain Bath Rugby last weekend but after leading them to a convincing victory, the young forward admits he can’t wait to wear the armband again.

Ewels only made his home debut for Bath against Toulouse in the European Rugby Champions Cup at the end of October but was selected to lead the side against London Welsh in the LV= Cup on Saturday.

And things couldn’t have gone better for the 19-year-old as his side cruised to a 47-7 win at the Rec, prompting coach Toby Booth to comment that Ewels “captained the side exceptionally well.”

Although the starting XV against the Exiles was much-changed from previous weeks, thanks to international call-ups and players being rested, there were still a number of senior pros such as Gavin Henson, Luke Arscott and Matt Banahan on the pitch.

But Ewels insists captaining more experienced players held no fear for him and that his teammates could not have been more helpful.

“It’s not a dictatorship, so it’s not like I’m barking orders and leading them around,” he said. “Guys like Ross Batty, Nathan Catt and others really helped me out.

“I know it’s a bit of a cliché but everyone on the pitch was a leader – I just happened to have the title of captain.

“Everyone was massively responsive to me and they made my job a lot easier with the way they helped me out.

“Captaincy and leadership is something I’m massively interested in – the dynamic of trying to get the best out of people is something that really interests me.

“I was really focused on not letting the leadership side of things affect what I was doing on the pitch – you’ve still got to go out there and play your game.

“I think everyone would agree that the best form of leadership is leading by example – if the guys around you can look round and you’re having a good day, it’s the best thing for them to strive for.”

Ewels started as a lock against Welsh but can also turn out in the back row if required – providing an invaluable versatility to the Bath pack.

The England U20 star could well be in the mix to lead his club again as they continue their LV= Cup campaign against last year’s winners Exeter Chiefs this weekend.

And with the competition having a reputation as a breeding ground for young talent, Ewels believes the key is striking a balance between young and old.

“I think we had a good mix of youth and experience – traditionally the LV= Cup is a competition for young players to hold their hands up, show what they’re about and go on to bigger and better things,” he added.

“I think there’s quite a good culture at this club of young guys feeling they can express themselves and play and are given the opportunity to do so.

“Obviously guys like myself have to show we’re worthy of the opportunities but I think it is important to have that balance between youth and experience.

“If you fielded a team of 15 young lads then they would have no-one to look to, so it’s having that balance of a few guys who have been there and done it before alongside some guys who are young, keen and want to show what they’re about.”

For your definitive guide to the LV= Cup click here

Be part of the rugby family at the LV= Cup Final at Franklin's Gardens, Northampton on Sunday 22 March. Visit www.northamptonsaints.co.uk for tickets

 

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