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Jack Nowell
(Exeter Chiefs)

This may only be Exeter’s second season in the Aviva Premiership but with youngsters like 18-year-old Jack Nowell in the ranks, the Chiefs certainly have the talent to stay around for some time yet.

Born in Truro, Nowell is starting to make a name for himself in the South-West. Although he’s now a full-time member of Exeter’s academy, Nowell was dual-registered with National Two League South club Redruth last season and has been seen in the colours of Championship side Plymouth Albion this term, making appearances in the starting full-back jersey and from the bench.

A good runner with the ball in hand, Nowell is an exciting, attacking full-back, and it’s no surprise that his rugby heroes include former All Black Mils Muliaina, England legend Jason Robinson and Australia’s Kurtley Beale.

He has represented Cornwall from U15 to U18 level, South-West U18 and England U17 Academies, and played for Exeter in last season’s JP Morgan Sevens and this year’s Middlesex Sevens at HQ.

However, his greatest highlights have been playing for England U18. He took to international duty like a duck to water, scoring a try on his debut against Ireland last December and enjoying great success with the side throughout 2011. Now a member of the England U20 squad, Nowell will be aiming to get his first cap at that level when the team takes on the best in Europe in the U20 Six Nations in February.

Rugby World Verdict: Teenager Nowell looks to be treading the path to success. Bea Asprey

Steve Shingler
(London Irish)

A new face is popping up in the London Irish back-line this season. Steve Shingler has been a regular starter wearing ten, 12 and 13 and was last season’s Wales U20 full-back, but the aim is to develop him as an outside-half.  

It was the presence of Rhys Priestland and Stephen Jones at the Scarlets that persuaded Shingler to leave the region last summer and Irish won his signature because former England utility back Mike Catt is on their coaching staff. “I wanted to develop my game with Mike Catt,” Shingler says. “He’s got a World Cup under his belt. He has a great depth of knowledge about my position.”

Shingler, 20, was born in Swansea and learned his rugby at Hendy RFC and Coleg Sir Gâr. He went from hooker, to lock and beyond. He joined Llanelli and scored over 300 points in 44 senior games for them from 2009, as well as playing four times for the Scarlets.

A four-week ban for a dangerous tackle against Cardiff Blues has stalled his progress, but head coach Toby Booth has been impressed by his skills and mentality. “He picks nice lines as a carrier and is not afraid to play flat,” he says. “He’s got a good kicking game and is a good goalkicker. He’s handled the move well and is growing in confidence.”

The 20 points he kicked for the Scarlets against Irish in last year’s LV= Cup helped draw Shingler to Booth’s attention. “He had a good temperament on the big occasion and temperament is important in the position he plays,” says the coach.

Rugby World Verdict: Shingler’s composure makes him an outstanding prospect. Katie Field

This article appeared in the January 2011 issue of Rugby World Magazine.

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