Ewers hopes to make his first start for Exe in cup
TEENAGER Dave Ewers hopes to be able to show what he can do if he gets the nod to start for Exeter Chiefs this weekend.
The 19-year-old Zimbabwean has been named in a 24-man squad for Sunday's British & Irish Cup game away to Cornish Pirates.
CUP CHANCE: Exeter academy product Dave Ewers is hoping to make his first start for Exeter Chiefs in their British & Irish Cup game against Cornish Pirates at Camborne on Sunday
And he could be handed his first start as Dave Gannon, who played at blindside in Exeter's last cup outing against Leinster, does not feature.
Head coach Rob Baxter has made minor changes to the squad that featured against the Irish province for Sunday's match at Camborne.
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Northampton's Nick Greenhalgh also drops out, with Jamie Fleming and academy youngsters Jack Andrew, Addison Lockley and Ben Spencer coming in.
Ewers, who has been playing for Exmouth this season on a dual contract, has appeared as a replacement in all three of Exeter's previous cup games this season.
The No.8 said he enjoyed playing against Newport, Gael Force and Leinster and he is looking forward to facing the Pirates.
"I'm grateful for the opportunities I've been given," he said. "I want to play to the best of my ability and see what I can do.
"I've really enjoyed it so far, hopefully I can take my opportunity this weekend. I'm going to keep my head down and work hard and hopefully the hard work will pay off."
Baxter has named a few experienced forwards in his squad, including Sam Blythe, Chris Bentley and back-rowers James Scaysbrook and Tom Johnson.
Ewers said he had learned a lot from Scaysbrook and Johnson already.
"They've been really helping me, talking to me a lot to get me through," he said.
"I feel like I can learn a lot from them — just to be in the same environment is good for me."
Ewers and his family came to Devon five years ago when they were forced out of their homeland. His grandparents lived in Ivybridge so they moved into the town.
Ewers still attends Ivybridge Community College through Exeter Chiefs' academy based at the school and he played for the town's rugby club until last season.
This season, however, has seen him continue his development with Exmouth in National Three South West.
Ewers has been a regular for the Cockles and has learned a lot from his time at the Imperial Ground.
"I started playing men's rugby this season to get used to it and I've really enjoyed it down there," said Ewers of his time at Exmouth.
"I'm grateful to them for having the opportunity to play for them as well. It's good to get game time for them so that I can learn as much as I can."
Prop Andrew is also dual registered with Exmouth and made his playing comeback last weekend after a knee injury picked up training with the Chiefs.
Scrum-half Spencer and second-row Lockley will make their debuts if they are included in the squad to face the Pirates.
The Cornishmen are keen to end a five-game losing run against the Chiefs this weekend and also boost their chances of reaching the cup semi-finals.
If Leinster slip up in either of their two remaining games the Pirates can top the group and go through to the last four.
Flanker Chris Morgan said he and his teammates were focused on beating Exeter after two defeats against their rivals this season.
"We feel we owe them," said the former Bristol forward. "I know they have been putting out so-called weakened teams in the cup because everything for them is the league and getting promoted. However, it's a derby game at the end of the day and everyone wants to play in those sorts of games.
"Regardless of what teams either side puts out on Sunday, it's a chance not only for us to put one over them going into the play-offs, but at the same time make another statement about our own form."
Exeter Chiefs: (from) Andrew, Bentley, Blythe, Ewers, Fleming, Johnson, Kingsland, Lockley, Moon, Murphy, Nelson, Scaysbrook, Stupple, Tomes, Bedford, Bolt, Cornwell, Gray, Jones, Lewis, Marsden, McKenzie, Spencer, Stuart-Smith