The versatile back talks pranks, teleporting and on-pitch exposure
Downtime with… Exeter and England wing Jack Nowell
What are the best and worst things about touring?
The worst thing is being away from your family. With two little girls, it’s tough. The best thing is the camp environment; it’s a good place to be with the squad at the moment.
The last time we went to Australia (2016) was one of the most enjoyable tours I’ve been on. It helped that we won 3-0 but the memories off the field stuck with me.
Winning makes a big difference but it’s the time we spent in Australia and travelling to different areas… I spent time on the beaches; it’s their winter but it’s still as warm as our summer!
Who are the jokers in the England squad?
Jonny May is one, although he doesn’t think he is. He’s very funny but that’s just the way Jonny is. Harry Randall is cheeky – he lives up to the scrum-half stereotype.
Practical jokes? Rans is one who does that. Danny Care is always having a laugh. With Tom Curry, we laugh at him, not because he’s funny.
Do you have any nicknames?
Tevez. It’s what everyone calls me in camp. It’s because it’s my middle name and I was so good at football everyone thinks I’m like Carlos Tevez!
Who are the best and worst room-mates you’ve had?
Anthony Watson is pretty good. He’s tidy and likes to go to bed early, which is ideal for me. I like to be in bed nice and early, 9.30pm – training is hard enough so you need eight hours’ sleep at least.
The worst is Luke Cowan-Dickie. He’s just turned up as I’m saying it! He’s messy and he snores.
What’s the funniest thing you’ve seen on the pitch?
At Chiefs, an Aussie called Ben White played for us a few years ago. He didn’t like to wear anything under his rugby shorts – no boxers, no Budgies, no Under Armour!
He went up in a lineout and as he came down his arms were trapped and his shorts got pulled down – from the front as well as the back. BT Sport saw everything – and we never let him forget!
What really annoys you?
Away from rugby? People who drive on the motorway with their window down. I don’t know how they do it.
What’s your most embarrassing moment?
Probably my recent stag do, when the boys – including Luke – dressed me up in a Munster rugby shirt and it was on every social media channel.
The amount of Munster fans who saw me was one thing, but then my face was blown up on BT, Twitter, Instagram… The fact my shorts were so big was another thing.
Do you have any phobias?
Snakes and spiders! The last time we were in Australia, Dylan Hartley had a fake snake and ran into the team room with it. It looked real and we all sprinted out faster than we’d ever moved before.
What about superstitions?
Not really. I take my pillow everywhere with me. When I’m going away to hotels, half of my suitcase is filled with my pillow.
Who would you like to be stuck in a lift with?
Who would I find out a bit of intel from, inside knowledge no one knows? I’m really interested in what the royal family get up to day to day. They do all the special events, but what do they do when they sit down in the evening, have dinner and watch Coronation Street? So someone who could talk to me about the royal family.
What’s the silliest thing you’ve ever bought?
I’ve bought a lot of silly things. I do it all the time and never use them. I’ve got a 50cc motorbike that I thought I’d use to go to training, but only when it’s sunny, so I probably use it three times a year.
Your guilty pleasure?
A Cornish pasty.
If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
To fly. No, teleport. I don’t mind flying to places, like going on holiday, but flying back if I could teleport I’d get back quickly. Or I could just pop down to Cornwall.
If you could be one team-mate, who would it be?
Someone like Maro Itoje or Marcus Smith as they’re like royalty. They walk down the streets of London and are more famous than Beckham!
Luke is saying I should say him but it definitely wouldn’t be him. I don’t want to know what goes on in his head!
What’s your favourite WhatsApp group?
We Ain’t Leaving. It’s all mine and Luke’s school friends from back home. When we won the Grand Slam (2016), they came out to Paris to watch the game and we got them, 12 Cornish lads, into the nightclub later, then they refused to leave at closing time.
How’d you like to be remembered?
As a down-to-earth, fun guy.
This article originally appeared in Rugby World magazine’s August 2022 edition.
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