Josh Lewis, a name that for most at least, is unknown. However, for fans of Ebbw Vale RFC he has become a modern day hero helping the team to a first Principality Premiership crown last season and being one of their stand-out players again this season.
His exploits at Ebbw Vale have seen Bath come knocking, and come the new season he will be playing his rugby out of The Rec. Before Josh Lewis left, he had a chat about rugby life at Ebbw with Last Word on Rugby’s Robert Rees. On what he looks forward to in his ‘big time move’ to Bath.
Josh Lewis; Unknown Hero to Big Time Star
Josh has been one of the outstanding performers in the Principality Premiership this season, with Wales Online including him in their best players that aren’t professional in Wales list.
One of Ebbw Vale’s players of the season, if not THE player of the season, he is looking forward to taking his rugby to England’s top division. ”I’ve played all my rugby in Wales since the age of 15 so it’ll be nice to go over the bridge, be in a different environment and probably the toughest league in Europe.”
Josh found out about Bath’s interest via his agent and when he was told that Bath expressed their interest “I didn’t think anything of it. I was telling myself, why would a club like Bath want me?” This just sums up Josh to a tee, a character that is super talented but always humble.
Bath is one of Europe’s biggest clubs and from this they have drawn in strong Welsh talent in the likes of Talaupe Faletau, Rhys Priestland and Luke Charteris. Not only is Josh looking forward to being around these stars, but he is looking ahead to a reunion with Rhys Priestland who he previously played alongside at the Scarlets.
”I was with Rhys down at the Scarlets and I learnt a lot off him then and hope to do the same again this time at Bath.”
Lewis Learning From Many of the Best
“And the likes of Faletau and Charteris running off me will make my job a lot easier and hopefully they can give me pointers as well.” Despite the huge mass of talent at Bath Josh is certainly relishing the challenge and heads east feeling less nervous than one would usually assume.
When asked about if he has any nerves going to Bath; ”No not really I’ve been in the pro environment before so I know what to expect. Only thing I’m a bit nervous for is the fact I’ll be playing with world class players.”
Despite his future destined to be surrounded by some of rugby’s biggest figures Josh’s feet remain firmly on the ground. ”I’m one of these guys who will never forget where you come from and I think that’s really important. That’s why I came back to Ebbw Vale (EV) when I left the Scarlets.”
Ebbw Vale a Good Starting – Now to Step-up Again
Josh may not be surrounded by the games biggest names at Ebbw, although the catch n’Kynes is arguably the most recognizable move on the pitch now…..at least by Phil Steele anyway. One big name that he has worked around though is departing EV head coach and former Wales coach, Nigel Davies.
Josh described him as a ”welsh legend” and that ” to work with him and to have his knowledge on the game was a great experience. I thought we worked well together.” Undoubtedly someone who has added something extra to Josh’s rugby CV.
Josh has always been a player who is willing to learn or pass knowledge on and for EV this was crucial as he returned from his first pro rugby outing at the Scarlets. ”The standard is different going from pro to semi pro but what I learned down with the Scarlets I brought that back to EV and try to pass my knowledge on to the other boys”, and no doubt he will be wanting the same sort of knowledge flow from his future Bath counterparts.
Something new that will challenge Josh at Bath more so than it did during his tenure at the Scarlets is the travelling involved and the time away from his fiancé and family. ”I was able to travel back and forth training everyday with the Scarlets, but I’ll be away from my fiancé and family most of the week. It will be tough not to see them as they have been a huge part in my career.”
Work Harder and Play Better in the Big Time
This is sure to motivate Josh to train harder and play better than he has ever done before as he looks to plan his future ahead of him. One of the reasons he came back to EV was because of the family feel at the club and it’s nature towards supporting the players families.
Josh, whilst looking forward to his switch to Bath will be missing all the friends he has made at EV, truly showing how close everyone is at the club. ”I made some really good friends in EV obviously I’ll still be in contact with them but won’t see them as much and like I just said Ebbw Vale is a family club and made my family really welcome”
Josh’s family have played a huge part in his career, and the latest installment has shown just how much they are behind him. His fiancé has been very supportive wish Josh explaining that his family basically made the decision for him, with them not wanting him to miss such a great career boost.
His parents have been his biggest fans for a number of years now, attending games regularly, with his father even allowing him time off from the family business to be able to train and play in the past.
Dedication to Rugby Known by his Family for Many Years
His parents have known for years that his dream was to play in the Aviva Premiership. The news that is good for Bath fans is that Josh’s dedication and devotion to rugby will only increase in the future. ”I do all my training before I start work. I’m up 5.30am everyday doing my own training.”
This is only possible due to his family’s supportive nature, with Josh’s dad spearheading the fabulous support structure. ”He’s my number one supporter so if I need time off (work) to do some training then it’s not an issue”, highlighting just how important it is to have your family behind you in sport.
Last Word on Rugby wish Josh Lewis all the best in his career, and than Ebbw Vale/Bath Rugby for the opportunity to interview Lewis.
Main photo credit”