Gloucester have confirmed Lewis Ludlow as their captain for the new Premiership season.
Head coach George Skivington entrusted Ludlow to deputise for Willi Heinz during the England international’s injury-enforced absence towards the end of the last campaign.
And with the scrum-half struggling with a calf injury, Ludlow has ascended to the top job of the club he joined at the age of 17.
Nine years later and Ludlow has amassed more than 100 appearances for the first-team, who open their Premiership season with a trip to Leicester Tigers on Saturday.
Explaining his choice of skipper, Skivington felt the appointment of an academy graduate would send encouragement to those in the club’s pathway that Gloucester have a plan for its young players.
“Lewis epitomises everything we want from a Gloucester Rugby player; he turns up for work every day and gives 100 percent, he’s Gloucester Rugby through and through, and most importantly he leads by example.
“As an academy graduate, he is a great role-model for those younger players coming through who will be aiming to emulate the journey Lewis has been on so far.”
Ludlow, together with back row partner Jack Clement, were selected by England head coach Eddie Jones for an October training camp prior to the Autumn Nations Cup.
While uncapped scrum-half Stephen Varney, 19, was selected for senior Italy duty by head coach Franco Smith, having represented Italy U20s during the Six Nations.
Varney was among a number of players, including Clement, Tom Seabrook and Lloyd Evans, to sign contract extensions last month at a club clearly gearing towards the future with a crop of talent youngster who Ludlow is proud to lead.
Ludlow commented: “It’s a massive honour for me. A club like this has so much history, and looking at some of the past captains, it’s a really huge privilege, and it’s one I won’t take lightly.
“Gloucester gave me a chance when I was 17, and I’ve been in the pathway ever since, so now to be given the captaincy, it’s huge for me, and I’ll be looking to repay the faith the Club has put in me.”