Exeter Chiefs prop Craig Mitchell believes the arrival of the World Cup in Devon has created a great deal of anticipation around the city. The Wales forward has experienced the thrill of a World Cup firsthand and said the news of Sandy Park’s inclusion as a venue for Rugby World Cup in 2015 is exciting for Exeter Chiefs fans but also for the players at the club.
Chiefs starlet and a future England prospect Jack Nowell could feature in the tournament, if he continues his current progress in the Aviva Premiership. He said: “After the boys found out there was going to be a few games here it was absolutely amazing.”
Sandy Park will host three tournament fixtures, in what Mitchell hopes will be an exciting and intoxicating time for Westcountry rugby. Mitchell said: “It’s a massive reward for the players, coaches and staff but also for the fans who turn up week in, week out. They create the atmosphere, which was a massive selling point for the World Cup games being hosted here.”
The club anticipate fans will bring that same level of support to the World Cup. Mitchell expects the supporters’ infamous ‘Tomahawk Chop’ chant to make an appearance in the competition. “That will be nice to see won’t it,” said Mitchell, with a smile.
Mitchell toured New Zealand with Wales at the last World Cup in 2011 and has seen how impressive a World Cup atmosphere can be, but he believes that a tournament on home soil will be more than a match. “I know Sandy Park and the atmosphere that can be created here, I think there will be a massive buzz around the area,” said Mitchell.
Cornishman Nowell hopes the Westcountry can put on a great show for the rugby world. He said: “It will be amazing to have World Cup games here, we all know what it’s like here with a packed out crowd.”
Nowell has had a meteoric rise to success, since his arrival at the club in 2010. He has become a key member of the Chiefs’ squad this season and has also been nominated for the prestigious LV = Young Player of the year award. Last year’s winner, Saracens fly-half Owen Farrell, has just been selected to tour with the British and Irish Lions.
Nowell performed impressively in the victorious England Under-20s Six Nations campaign and has been tipped to work his way into the senior England squad within the next few years. He said: “Just to get a taste of the England set-up is amazing and I just want to go forward with that.”
With the World Cup only two years away, Nowell hopes that he maintains his progression and is able to make his way into contention for the tournament in 2015. He said: “Two years isn’t long at all but that is what I want to do. I want to push for that World Cup.”