The conversations Charlie Ewels had with Steve Borthwick
Charlie John Ewels doesn’t hide the fact that he harbors hopes of making the England World Cup squad.
However, he also knows there is a long, hard slog ahead to get into the kind of shape that will put him in the selection frame.
The 31-times capped international has taken a very unconventional route of going ‘on loan’ to the Bulls in Pretoria to get some much-needed game time.
Ewels underwent surgery after he damaged his anterior cruciate ligament in a training ground mishap while on tour with England in Australia last year – preparing for their first Test against the Wallabies in June.
With the English Premiership season coming to a close, playing opportunities were extremely limited and he started looking around.
He said that his ‘unique’ circumstances required him to go out on loan and he spoke to several clubs.
“The big reason [I decided on coming to Pretoria] is that [Bulls Director Rugby] Jake White’s son [Wesley White] plays at Bath,” Ewels said.
“It was quite an easy way to get hold of Jake and it happened very quickly,” he said, adding that he is ‘loving’ it at Loftus Versfeld.
(Article continues below the Charlie Ewels interview …)
He said getting back into the England frame is on his wish list.
“It would be lying if I say that was not a dream of mine,” he said about his desire to be in the frame for England’s World Cup squad.
“I have spoken to Steve Borthwick a little bit,” he told @rugby365com, adding that the conversations were not around selection issues.
“It has been around my game,” the 27-year-old second row forward said.
Having been sidelined for the better part of nine months, he has played only about 120 minutes of rugby since his arrival in Pretoria.
“There is a 100 different things I want to work on.
“We [Borthwick and I] have been speaking a little bit around my game – around my carrying, my tackles, the little bits and pieces of my game and trying to move those things forward.”
Ewels said he was not putting pressure on himself to reach specific goals and deadlines.
“I have come back into the game at a level,” the lock – known for his line-out and defensive skills – said.
“I just want to see myself improving each week and so far that has been happening.
“That is as far as I can control things.”
He said the goal of his rehabilitation process while in South Africa is that he wants to push beyond the level he was at before the injury.
“I feel like I am, physically, a better athlete than I was before I got injured,” he told @rugby365com.
“Now it is about getting the rugby back, pushing that to the best rugby I ever played.
“How long that will take I don’t know.
“What I can control is making sure each week it is better than it was the week before.”
He said the brutally physical nature of the Currie Cup will benefit him in all aspects of the contact area.
“The athletes in this [Currie Cup] competition, the size of the guys – if your technique is poor, you get found out straight away.
“Your height in the carry, your height at the breakdown, and your technique around the tackle are the things I am learning most about my game.
“That is what this competition is giving me and that is perfect.
“The nine months that I have not been able to play, then I get thrown in at the deep end in this competition and I have to learn very quickly.”