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'No World Cup': Jack Nowell rules himself out of England selection

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Dan Mullan/The RFU Collection via Getty Images)

Exeter’s Jack Nowell has declared himself unavailable for World Cup training squad selection with England, the Top 14-bound winger explaining how it is best for him and his family to instead make the move across the Channel in July rather than compete for a place in Steve Borthwick’s squad.

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The 30-year-old, who was part of the squad that reached the 2019 final under Eddie Jones, won his 45th England cap when appearing off the bench last November against the Springboks.

However, with Jones replaced as head coach by Steve Borthwick the following month, Nowell was excluded from the Guinness Six Nations campaign and he has now decided not to put himself forward to try and earn a World Cup recall.

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Asked on the latest RugbyPass Offload show what his summer plans were now that he was leaving Exeter and heading most likely to La Rochelle, Nowell said: “No World Cup, I’m not doing the World Cup. I am just going to chill. I need to get my knee sorted. Obviously, it was a bit of a hard decision not to put myself in for selection for the World Cup. I thought it was probably one I had to make for myself and for my family as well.

“We are going to make the most of being back home in Cornwall, we will probably spend the next few weeks there and we have got a testimonial tournament at Sandy Park on June 3 which Red Bull are going to take care of it for us.”

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Quizzed further about the reason why he has called it quits with England rather than fight for a place in the 2023 RWC squad, Nowell continued: “Eddie leaving and Steve coming in. I was in contact at the start with Steve and he let me know I wasn’t going to be involved in the Six Nations which was completely fair enough. New coach, new ideas.

“There comes a stage where everyone has got to make a decision about the team, so I was happy with that. It was pretty cool – it was my last year at the club anyway, so I really get to focus on trying to do the best I can for the club and trying to get us into the big games at the end of the season.

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“Like I have said, I didn’t have a lot of communication with Steve. To be honest, I didn’t have a lot, so you come to that stage where you are, ‘Right, probably that ship has sailed on me now in terms of the England stuff’.

“The boys did very well in the Six Nations that were playing on the wing and there does come a stage where you do have to start thinking about your family and thinking about your future and stuff like that. I had these opportunities to speak to other clubs and discuss my future. When you do sign abroad, or you do sign anywhere you do get an option to sign pre-World Cup or post-World Cup.

“For me, I made that decision then that it was probably best for my family and myself to sign the contract pre-World Cup. I’m sure it would be a bit different it was I was talking to Steve all the time. Since then, I have spoken to Steve, I had to let him know my decision because I think I was in plans for the World Cup, especially the first get-together as a big squad.

“But I made a decision not to do that and to make sure my family get settled in France and make sure I get settled in France so I get to go to my new club and be the best I can and win some more trophies. As much as I would have liked to have done this one and given it a good crack, sometimes you have to read between the lines and probably understand you are probably not in the coach’s favour.

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“Don’t get me wrong, I would have loved to have fought for my position, I would love to have got myself back into playing but family comes first for me, and I had to make sure they are looked after first.”

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Turlough 5 hours ago
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“You want that – not hatred – but whatever it is that stirs it all up. It’s good.” Agree with this. If you can put a common motivating idea in all your players heads during a game it can produce a real Team perfromance. Erasmus is pretty expert at this. It is quite clear that the comments by Etzebeth, Allende and others were not coincidence and were actioned to create animoisty before the series in order to galvanise the South African mind set. While I understand it, I don’t like it. They result in unnessary vitriol between supporters and for what? I don’t think any of the SA players seriously believe any of these claims and with Ireland ignoring them Erasmus won’t get the escalation he seeks. The vitriol shown by some SA and indeed NZ supporters is extremely weird for NH supporters (OK, maybe England have felt it) but it just feels very odd over a sport. Ireland were more or less sh1t for the first 100 years of their rugby, they have improved significantly in the last 25 to be in a position around now (it may not last) to go into a match with the big guns with a real shot of winning. The reaction to this from some SH supporters has been bizarre with conspiracy theories of ‘Arrogance’ fueling abuse from supporters and even NZ players to Irish crowds during the world cup. I love International rugby and the comraderie between supporters. I genuinely dread and dislike the atmosphere around games with the southern giants. They take this very personally. NH teams: play them, try and beat them, enjoy the craic with their players and supporters and wish them well. SH teams wish them well and they call you arrogant in the press months later. Its just a matter of try and beat them and then good riddance til the next time.

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