Dave Ewers: Back-row forward to join Ulster from Exeter Chiefs next season

Dave Ewers: Back-row forward to join Ulster from Exeter Chiefs next season


Dave Ewers made his debut for Exeter Chiefs in 2009

Back-row forward Dave Ewers is to leave Exeter Chiefs at the end of the season to join Irish province Ulster.

The 32-year-old can play at both flanker and number eight and has amassed 216 senior appearances for the Premiership side, scoring 38 tries.

He was involved in the club’s historic win of both the Premiership and Champions Cup in 2020.

“Dave will add depth and further experience to our back row,” commented Ulster head coach Dan McFarland.

Known for his physicality as a destructive ball carrier, Ewers first linked up with Exeter as part of their Academy system, following his family’s move back to England.

Standing at nearly 2 metres tall, Ulster’s latest signing is no stranger to European Rugby, following his debut back in 2010.

In this season’s Heineken Champions Cup, Ewers was involved in recent pool stage wins over Castres Olympique and the Vodacom Bulls, earning himself a try in each.

“Dave has demonstrated over a terrific career at Exeter that he loves to carry ball and is one of the top gain-line winning forwards in the Premiership. His size, work rate and skillset will dovetail nicely with our other back rows,” said McFarland.

Ewers added: “Ulster is a proud club with a reputation on the pitch which reaches far and wide, and I look forward to calling myself one of the Ulster men from next season onwards.

“I have made many memories with Exeter Chiefs over the years, and now I’m excited to see what this next chapter in my career holds as part of a club with big goals.”

Ewers is the third confirmed departure at the end of the season, joining Luke Cowan-Dickie and Sam Simmonds, both of whom are joining French Top 14 outfit Montpellier.

Analysis

Brent Pilnick, BBC Sport, Exeter

It seems it is an end of an era at Exeter as Dave Ewers becomes the latest long-serving homegrown player to leave as the Premiership’s reduced salary cap continues to bite.

Having seen Sam Simmonds and Luke Cowan-Dickie agree moves to Montpellier, and Jack Nowell looking as though he will also head to France, Ewers’ departure is a blow – although not unexpected.

The Zimbabwe-born man mountain has spent his entire career at Sandy Park – as well as a short spell as a young player on loan at Cornish Pirates – and established himself as one of the Premiership’s most dominant back-rows.

He was called up to the England squad in February 2016, but a series of injuries meant he never won an England cap, although his influence was a big part of Exeter’s success over the last seven years including a domestic and European double in 2020.

He leaves as a fan favourite and Exeter could now look to young players such as Christ Tshiunza, Richard Capstick and Greg Fisilau to step up and fill Ewers’ shoes.



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