The Vodacom Bulls have secured the services of England and Bath lock Charlie Ewels on a short-term deal as he looks to return from injury and try and regain his test spot under Steve Borthwick ahead of the World Cup.
Ewels, who tore his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) while on tour with England in Australia last June, has been struggling to find a club to help him regain fitness and make a bid again for the England side.
The British newspaper, The Times reports that Bath have used their salary cap allocation for the season, so Ewels could not play there and had to look abroad for an opportunity.
?? NEW SIGNING ALERT ??
We are proud to announce the signing of Lock Charlie Ewels on a short term deal ?? Ewels is a veteran of over 100 caps for Bath and 30 caps for England ?? pic.twitter.com/VjMzel9ktF— Official Blue Bulls (@BlueBullsRugby) April 13, 2023
Ewels was negotiating with the Stormers but according to the Times “the South African club could not find enough money to enable a work visa for a loan move.”
Ewels was also looking to play in the Super Rugby Pacific in Australia, but is now likely to make his debut for the Bulls in Pretoria on Friday in their Currie Cup game against the Cell C Sharks.
Ewels has 30 test caps to his name and was a regular under Eddie Jones after making his debut against Fiji in 2016. He missed out on selection for the 2019 World Cup but partnered Maro Itoje after the World Cup.
Ewels will go back to Johann van Graan’s Bath side after the end of the season, but will have little chance to impress Borthwick ahead of the warm-up tests in August and the World Cup selection.
England have been using Itolje, South African-born David Ribbans and Ollie Chessum, while Launchbury returns from a Japanese stint soon. Chessum is out for four months with a dislocated ankle.
The Bulls are set to announce the move on Wednesday.