Having swapped the fringes of Northampton Saints’ XV to become a fully-fledged England international, Lewis Ludlam has enjoyed a whirlwind 18 months.
Little under a year ago, while on holiday celebrating a remarkable season with his club side, the 24-year-old back-rower was notified he had been invited to join Eddie Jones’ World Cup training camp.
Continuing to impress the Australian head coach, Ludlam was soon scoring a Rugby World Cup try against the United States, and has since gone on to make two appearances in this year’s Guinness Six Nations.
But despite his rapid rise, the Ipswich-born star isn’t planning on slowing down anytime soon and insists he is always striving to achieve the next milestone in his so-far stellar career.
“I haven’t really had chance to stop and think about it all yet,” he joked, speaking at an RFU All Schools event at Twickenham Stadium, aimed at getting more state secondary schools playing rugby.
“When the time comes I’ll be able to sit down and think about what’s happened but for now I’m just staying in the moment.
“The bar’s always moving, and expectations are always changing. I never expected to be involved at the World Cup, but things developed very quickly, and I’ve just tried to enjoy every second.
“I’ve got a really good relationship with Eddie. He’s a tough coach, he always wants the best out of you and that’s something that I’ve really enjoyed about working with him.
“I’ve learnt how to take the pressure off myself and I know how to bring the best out of myself. I try not to look too far ahead, and I just try to stay focused on achieving the next goal.”
Having made four appearances at the World Cup, Ludlam won the last of his eight Test caps in his second Six Nations game against Scotland in February.
And in his role as an All Schools ambassador, he took the chance to pass on some of his knowledge to the next generation of rugby stars, as 70 students from schools across England unveiled their new Canterbury kits on Twickenham’s hallowed turf ahead of the Red Rose’s match against Wales.
He said: “I went to a school where there wasn’t a lot of rugby – I did a lot of football and boxing growing up – so to be able to support the growth of the game for these kids at such a young age is great.
“Without these types of grassroots programmes and the work people do that goes into building the game, rugby at any level wouldn’t be possible. It’s amazing seeing kids that might not have had that chance before now be able to learn the values of rugby.
“From a professional’s perspective, it’s great to see the game continue to grow. It’s brilliant to be involved because I’m passionate about helping as many people get introduced to the sport as possible.”
The All Schools programme, supported by Canterbury, is one of the RFU’s key legacy programmes set up to increase the number of state secondary schools playing rugby union in England. Visit www.englandrugby.com/allschools to find out more. This programme hit its 750 milestone in September 2019.