Exeter Chiefs’ Jack Nowell endured a mixed debut as England went down to a 26-24 defeat to France in their opening game of the 2014 Six Nations Championship.
The 20-year-old Cornishman was handed his first start by head coach Stuart Lancaster but, after coming from 16-3 down to lead 24-19 with only four minutes remaining, English hopes of a winning start in Paris were dashed when Gael Fickou crossed for a converted try.
It was an evening Nowell will never forget, though, and he is hoping to have done enough to keep his place in the side for England’s clash with Scotland at Murrayfield next Saturday.
“For me, there were always going to be nerves because this is something I have wanted for so long,” Nowell said. “I made a bit of a mistake at the start and the ball did bounce our way a couple of times, but we didn’t panic and we stuck to what we planned to do. I thought we did well to come back after such a strong start from them.
“To be honest, I’ve come off gutted with a few mistakes I made and obviously the end result, but at the same time I’m still excited that I was out there playing with some of the boys that I have played against this season and last season. I’m just looking forward to next week, and fingers crossed I can get another start against Scotland.
“We played some good rugby at times, and we’ll look to regroup over this next week and come back strongly against Scotland.”