Exeter Chiefs wing Jack Nowell

Jack Nowell on the comeback trail for Exeter after ninth operation

Exeter Chiefs wing Jack Nowell says an England return will put to bed the tough times he has negotiated in his comeback from toe surgery.

In the four months he has spent sidelined, the British & Irish Lion believes he has matured in his way of thinking when coping with injuries and has become the latest figure from the rugby world to try their hand at podcasting.

Nearing contention for his return to the rugby pitch in early March has left the 36-cap star plotting his objectives for 2021 and beyond.

“I’m feeling good. I’d be the first to admit that i’ve rushed back from injuries in the past, but it’s all part of the learning experience,” Nowell said.

“I have had nine operations and I think the toughest part is often recovering mentally. Even as a child, I wasted so much of my time worrying to the point that I could not sleep well. So moving forward, I am going to try and let loose a bit more and not stress about injuries so that I can focus on enjoying the game.”

Nowell’s absence in England starting line-ups for all of 2020 is at odds with the success he achieved in Exeter’s historic double-winning season, having last played for Eddie Jones against Argentina at the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.

The Decoding Athletes host shared his intent on breaking into the fold again under Eddie Jones, and perhaps reacquainting himself with Warren Gatland on the Lions tour of South Africa this summer.

Auckland memories: Jack Nowell, Sam Warburton and Rhys Webb parade the pitch at Eden Park after the Lions drew the 2017 series in New Zealand 1-1. David Rogers/Getty Images

“Regaining a spot in the England squad is a big target for me this season. I’m desperate to get back into England contention and I’ve been working so hard to get myself in the best
possible position to stake my claim for a place.

“It is going to be tough – there are some top, top players in the England set up at the minute, but I am confident I can work my
way back into the team. I never quit, so I’ll be giving my absolute all to get back there.

“Another big focus for me is the British and Lions Tour of South Africa this year. Just knowing how special it is to be involved with the Lions has given me a real hunger to take part in the tour again.

“I definitely feel like I’ve got a lot more to give on this Lions Tour, so I need to ensure I perform at my best level for Exeter Chiefs first to achieve that.”

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