Lewis Ludlam answers our snapshot of questions 12 months on from emerging in the talks around the England World Cup squad.
The Northampton Saints flanker spoke to NICK CAIN about other areas of the game following on from their in-depth conversation about race in society, his upbringing in Suffolk, and rapid progress from Wanderers to World Cup.
…The dedication of his dad, Arron
My dad had never been involved in rugby at all, but after England won the World Cup in 2003 he became interested. Since then I think he’s missed only four games in my whole professional career. He was there in Japan too – and he did try to play in a game a couple of years ago, but ended up pulling a hamstring.
…The prospect of going straight from one season into another
I’m happy to play rugby in whatever form that is. I’m champing at the bit.
…What he learned most from the 2019 World Cup
I learned how to take the pressure off, and view big games as just another game of rugby. To be relaxed, confident, and enjoy the experience. I also recognised that what motivates me is working hard for 14 other players, looking after your team-mates, because you are all working for the same thing.
…The relief getting back to team training
It’s still quite limited in terms of what we can do. It’s just passing the ball – but it’s better than throwing it at the garden wall, or to the missus, who was getting a bit sick of having to catch it. We are hitting tackle bags and sausages, but they are being disinfected between reps, and even the balls are being disinfected between exercises. We’ve all also been given our own distanced weight stations in the gym – it’s tedious, but it’s a necessary precaution.
…What he’s done to stop himself climbing the walls during lockdown
Just before lockdown me and my girlfriend moved into a new house, and we got a Viszla puppy at the same time – so there’s been loads to get me up in the morning and get on with. It’s actually been good to plan your own day, rather than having it planned for you all time. For instance, it’s given me time to sort out a training regime for the dog, and he learns really well – in fact, he’s done more training than I have!
…The culture shock of going to Saint Joseph’s
We were not as wealthy a family as some of my schoolmates, and seeing some of their gaffs – which were a lot bigger – was a bit of an eye-opener.