Rugby Union

Rugby star shows ridiculous dedication to become a Lions player

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Exeter winger Jack Nowell is unlikely to forget the last couple of days in a hurry.

Nowell played a starring role in setting up Exeter's win in the Aviva Premiership final against Wasps by scoring the opening try of the final as they opened up an early lead.

Exeter had to withstand an outstanding fightback by their opponent and needed a last minute penalty from Gareth Steenson to take the game into extra-time.

Steenson then kicked kicked another penalty with three minutes left in extra-time to claim the final 23-20 and record their first Premiership in their 146-year history.

For Nowell, it started a whirlwind 24 hours.

The 23-year-old was due to fly out with the British and Irish Lions on Monday for their much-awaited tour of New Zealand.

Before that, however, was the little matter of taking part in the Premiership celebrations.

The Mirror reported that Nowell made a quick stop to Exeter for the festivities on Saturday evening, before completing an early taxi trip back to London to beat the midday deadline on Sunday.

The total distance of the trip is around 200 miles, while the advertised cost of a trip like what Nowell made is said to be £463.

However, there were certainly no regrets in Nowell's mind about the mad dash.

“I had a taxi booked for 7am,” said Nowell.

“Times like this don’t come round often. I wasn’t going to miss any of it.”

The win by the Chiefs is one of sport's great fairytale stories.

20 years ago, the team was in the third tier of English rugby, having previously played in the lower divisions.

Their first season in the top division was just seven years ago, after winning promotion against Bristol in the two-legged RFU Championship final.

It has been a steady build to their success in the top flight, and last year, they showed they were clearly on the rise, making the final but losing to Saracens 28-20.

After falling behind to a Elliott Daly try on Saturday, it would have been easy to have accepted their fate as runner-up yet again .

However, they had not fought so hard for no reason and they were intent on going one better.

Nowell said: "We could’ve dropped our heads, thought about ­losing but we didn’t.”

The winger, who has scored 11 tries in 23 test matches for England, has switched his mentality to the international game, and claiming a berth in the Lions side against the biggest challenge in world rugby - The All Blacks on home turf.

It is one that Nowell is prepared for.

"My focus now is on trying to get one of those Test shirts."

We wish him well.

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Ireland Rugby
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