As Bath Rugby’s Charlie Ewels ran out at Twickenham last weekend for the first time as an England international, clubmate and former roommate Tom Ellis was there in person to roar him on.
Less than 24 hours after helping Todd Blackadder’s side to a win over fierce rivals Bristol Rugby, Ellis high-tailed it up to south-west London so they did not miss the crowning moment of Ewels’ career so far.
In his first full season in Bath’s first team squad, Ellis – a member of England’s 2014 under-20s World Championship-winning squad – has gone from strength-to-strength at the Rec, playing in six Aviva Premiership Rugby matches so far this term including 80 minutes in Friday night’s 16-9 derby victory.
But having seen Ewels cut the mustard at the highest level with his own eyes, the 22-year-old lock admits his second-row partner’s success is driving him on at Bath.
“Charlie and I have been roommates on all the England age-group camps since we were 16, and I’ve lived with him for three years as well,” he said.
“I’m really proud of him first and foremost to be fair for what he is doing with England now, it’s great that his hard work has paid off.
“Nick Auterac and I drove up to Twickenham on Saturday and watched him come on which was great – it was nice of him to sort us out with tickets!
“I’m so pleased that he is getting the opportunities that he deserves and has been able to show what he can do at that level.
“This is my first year in the senior squad, and I’m just happy to be getting the opportunities. I don’t mind too much where I play as I’m thrilled to be on the pitch.
Thank you for the messages past couple of days. It’s a dream come true. Great to have Mum and Dad there to celebrate my first cap with me. pic.twitter.com/1QK8Ew2A3V
— Charlie Ewels (@charlieewels) November 20, 2016
“Seeing Charlie now makes you think that, in a way, that particular dream isn’t as far away as it seemed. But I am very much focusing on my performances for Bath.”
Blackadder’s side face a tough trip to Twickenham Stoop to take on Harlequins this weekend, who have not lost in the league on home soil so far this season.
And following on from another successful match against Bristol – Bath still have only lost once in the league this term – Ellis believes winning the breakdown battle will be the key to winning the war.
He said: “I think the boys played really well last week. We had guys like Darren Atkins stepping up on his first Aviva Premiership start, and it was really pleasing to get four points out of it.
“It was a messy game, but four points is four points at the end of the day so we were thrilled to get the win – especially over Bristol which was an added bonus for the fans.
— Premiership Rugby (@premrugby) November 22, 2016
“Quins haven’t lost at the Stoop this year so will be a tough challenge. We will have to tighten up at the breakdown from the Bristol game, as it wasn’t one of our strengths there.
“We have to stop the likes of [Dave] Ward and [Luke] Wallace getting over the ball, plus we have to make sure we are alert off turnover ball as that is where they get a lot of their go forward from.
“We’re going really well and that’s definitely a testament to Todd and also to how we prepared through preseason – even though we’ve had injuries a lot of guys have been able to step up and do a job.”