EXETER Chiefs supporters will have been delighted to hear the news that Dave Ewers has signed a new two-year contract with the club, keeping him at Sandy Park until at least 2020.
With Thomas Waldrom heading back home to New Zealand at the end of the season, the thought of losing the popular Ewers as well would have been too much to take for some of them.
The 27-year-old Zimbabwe-born back rower has been so unlucky with injuries in recent seasons, and you can only think that, but for those problems, he would be a prominent member of the England squad by now.
Just as he seems to be getting into contention for an international call-up, another injury comes along, and it is hugely frustrating for both player and club.
But he is now fit again and looking forward to the rest of the season with the Chiefs, and what lies ahead.
“I can just concentrate on playing again now and concentrate on performance, and it is always nice to have that security, knowing you are going to be around a great group of boys and a great club for another two years,” said Ewers, who is a product of the club’s Academy. “There are a lot of things you have got to weigh up [before deciding to sign a contract], but when you have got your friends and all the boys you have grown up with around you playing, it makes the decision a lot easier.
“You are in a place where you are comfortable and we are all striving to improve and to be better as a club.
“I am very proud and honoured to have been with the Chiefs for such a long time and I am looking forward to making more good memories. I was fortunate enough to be around the club when we got promoted from the Championship, and then when we have been climbing up the table and it has been very exciting.”
Looking back on the injuries that have stymied his progress, Ewers said: “I haven’t had the best of luck with injuries unfortunately, but I am getting there [with my fitness] and I am just looking to enjoy myself, and hopefully the performances will come and we will have a big end to the season.”
Ewers is delighted to be part of such a close-knit dressing room and the culture on which the club have built their success.
“It is a great place to be and I am very honoured to be here and it is a privilege to play with these boys and see the likes of all of the internationals we have signed lately coming in,” he said. “It is a place where other people want to be too, and you can’t take your time here for granted.
“It is a special place to be. Nothing has really changed over the years apart from the faces of the players and it is important we carry on keeping that enjoyment of being an Exeter Chief and working hard for each other.”
Asked what goals he had set himself over the next two years, Ewers said: “I definitely want to be involved in winning the Premiership.
“I had just had my operation when we won it last year, and it was tough watching it and I did struggle with that because I was just desperate to be on the field.
“I was probably a little bit jealous not to be on the field, but seeing the boys come home after such an intense game against Wasps will live in my memory for a long time.
“But hopefully, over the next two years, we can get back to Twickenham and do the same, and push on in Europe too.”
Ewers played for England Saxons on their tour of South Africa back in the summer of 2016, but he admitted gaining international recognition was not prominent in his mind for the time being.
“I am not thinking too much about that at the moment,” he said. “I am just trying to stay in the Chiefs squad, and get my form back.
“If you just look around the back row at the club, it is inundated with class players, and I will just be pretty happy if I stay in the squad here to be honest, and we will go from there.”
Ewers is now reaching the age where he can pass on some of his knowledge and experience to some of the club’s younger players.
“When I first came in, there were people like Richard Baxter here, and Chad Slade and James Scaysbrook, and I tried to learn as much as I could from them,” he explained.
“Then, over the years, experienced guys like Kai [Horstmann] and Tank [Thomas Waldrom] have come into the club and Tom Johnson, and I have just tried to learn as much as I could from them.
“It has been awesome to have such good players around me.”