Dave Ewers adapting to life with Ulster Rugby after scoring in historic pre-season friendly win over Glasgow Warriors

Dave Ewers recently made the move to Ulster Rugby for the upcoming season from English side Exeter Chiefs. PIC: David Davies/PA

By Ciaran Donaghy

Ulster – Dave Ewers – one of the big summer signings – scored a try and bagged the man-of-the-match accolade.

The powerful back-row spent 13 years at Exeter Chiefs after being forced to leave his native Zimbabwe.

“I grew up in Zimbabwe,” he said.

“My family were predominantly farmers and we moved to England in 2004 during the whole stuff with losing our family farm in 2003.

“The decision to leave wasn’t really ours but it was made for us.

“It’s been quite a life. I’ve been very blessed with how everything turned out for me.

“I think living in Zimbabwe would have been a very different path for me – to become a professional rugby player I would have had to move to South Africa or have gone to a lot bigger school that played in bigger set-ups.

“I have been very blessed with how my rugby took off.

“The school I went to in Exeter became the academy for the Chiefs, just as the Chiefs were getting promoted.”

“I made my debut when I was still in school – the year we got promoted – and it was a special time.”

Ewers is settling in well at Ulster.

“I think it’s definitely been challenging in adapting to how things are done here,” he added. “I had two very close friends with Ian (Whitten) and Gareth (Steenson) over in Exeter, who introduced me to a lot of stuff around Belfast life before I arrived.

“The boys have been brilliant.

“They have obviously been very welcoming, but they have also shown me how we do things here.

“It takes good character to be able to do that – it’s been a massive learning curve for me.

“I think I have got loads to learn.

“Glasgow wasn’t perfect from me and I still have got a lot of stuff to correct, but the boys will keep me on the straight and narrow.”

The game in Cavan was the first time Ulster had ever played at a GAA venue.

“It was an awesome experience to see the locals here that probably haven’t had the experience of coming up the road to Belfast,” he said. “I think it is massively important to us as a club in making that effort to come out to play to our best.

“As Dan (McFarland) said, we have looked into the history of the province and you can see the support for us here – it was special.

“To make a debut, away from home but at home, it was nice.”

Ulster start the United Rugby Championship campaign away to Zebre on October 21 before hosting the Bulls eight days later and Ewers is looking forward to making his competitive home debut.

“It’s going to be special occasion for me,” he added.

“Growing up in Zimbabwe, you look up to teams like the Bulls.

“Having them at home for the first game in the season is going to be a special experience.”

Centre James Hume and captain Tom Stewart also scored tries in the victory over Glasgow with Jake Flannery converting both.


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