Charlie Ewels knows Bath’s squadron of England hopefuls must rescue their club’s season or risk becoming nearly men in the race for World Cup selection.
Nine Bath players are in Red Rose contention, including Ewels, Joe Cokanasiga, Jonathan Joseph, Zach Mercer, Sam Underhill, Beno Obano, Elliott Stooke, Tom Dunn and Anthony Watson, whose return from injury is imminent.
However, form and injury mean few can be considered certainties and, with four Premiership games remaining, Ewels accepts a top six finish is the minimum required for a side that set out with genuine title hopes but has become mired in inconsistency.
Ewels told The Rugby Paper: “It’s a big few weeks for everybody and, hopefully, the way all of us are going to be there (at the World Cup) is by playing well for Bath. If any of us start putting our energy anywhere else or start thinking about the longer term, you can guarantee we won’t be there.
“We need to be the best players on the pitch for Bath and build momentum to put our hands up for World Cup camps.
“It’s been a frustrating season for Bath in many ways and ‘why?’ is the million-dollar question. But we can either look back and drag our heels or we can be proactive, work hard and make the most of every opportunity from now to the end of the season.”
Second row forward Ewels was in England’s Six Nations squad but failed to feature as George Kruis, Joe Launchbury and Courtney Lawes held sway, while boss Eddie Jones elected to forego having a recognised lock on the bench for Italy and Scotland. And while all eyes are looking ahead to this year’s Rugby World Cup there are numerous bookmakers doing the same – view the offers at this betting site to find that suits you.
Ewels added: “Eddie picks the team and all I can do is keep working and train as well as I can within that environment. It’s a funny one because you’re obviously desperate to play and you know you’re close without ever quite being there.
“It’s wasted time worrying about selection or other people, though, and when you take a step back, I’d rather be close than not in there fighting at all.”