#RugbyUnited Guest Blog…Nick Lewis…

Posted: July 1, 2012 in Rugby Union
Tags: , ,

Nick Lewis is one of the guiding lights of #RugbyUnited, and has been responsible for several #RugbyQA and #RugbyQuiz on twitter, as well as being one of the organisers of next weeks inaugral #RugbyUnited charity match.

He can be found on Twitter on @NickLewisNo8 and is always dependable for a good line of banter.

Nick sent me this blog a couple of weeks ago, and i love the idea of it, and i would really like to know other people’s rugby experiences, so much so that i will add mine to the bottom of Nicks. If anyone would like to send me theirs,or any other blog, please send them onto me (with a bit about yourself) to Rich_Rugbyunited@mail.com.

Nick’s rugby history!

“you run forward, pass backwards, it’s not difficult to understand”-
Austin Hill, games teacher at Saintbridge School for boys (around 1983 )

            That was my introduction to rugby. Thrust upon me  by my school. If you went to school in Gloucester, you played rugby.It took a while to get the hang of it but I got there in the end.
            I didn’t play for my school, I wasn’t good enough but I did play house rugby and loved every minute of it.

             When I left school I decided to play for Coney Hill RFC, why Coney Hill? Because my brother played there.
             Coney Hill ran 4 sides but getting into a side was near on impossible. John Masey was captain of the 4ths ” you don’t just walk into the side, you earn the right to play”
So my first season consisted of training on Tuesday and Thursday and then playing for 10 mins on a Saturday but once you were in, you were in.
It took a while but eventually I got accepted and played at a reasonably good level.
             Finding my right position took a while, started on the wing(I was slimmer and quicker in those days), played 3 seasons at Full Back and then found the best position on the pitch. No7 , open side flanker. For those who don’t know, open side flanker is  a right royal pain in the arse, you play right on the edge of what is strictly legal according to the laws, some might call it cheating, i say its only cheating if you get caught.You put your hands into rucks, you hold onto the ball on the floor, you hold on to scrums by your finger nails, you tackle fly halves at least 30 secs after they have offloaded the ball. Like I said, best position on the pitch.
              I played for Coney Hill on and off for 22 years at every senior level, I have had the honour of playing with some great players, everyone of which would fight for you, bleed for you,I wouldn’t go as far as say die for you but it certainly felt that way. I have been on great tours, having the pleasure of playing in the unbeaten tour of Canada.
             I have made some great friends, friends for life, not just at Coney Hill but in all the clubs in Gloucester.
             Sadly I had to give up playing due to a shoulder/ neck injury which just won’t heal. I’ve had injuries before, popped rib cartlidge,broken fingers, broke my nose 7 times, lost teeth, usual sporting injuries but this one wont go away. I remember when I went to the Doctors and she said the following
           ” normally I say to you, think about giving up. Now I’m telling you, give up”
Sad day.

           The saddest thing is I don’t go to watch Coney Hill play, the reason being that I don’t think I could resist the temptation to play. I know deep in my heart that I would be in a world of pain for days after so why put myself through it.

            So now I support Gloucester,which is not easy, some might say another world of pain.

             But I can honestly say, I enjoyed every second of every minute of every match that I have ever played in, if I could carry on i would, wouldn’t think twice. I would say to anyone, if you get the chance to play then play and you too will see why rugby, in my humble opinion, is the greatest sport in the world.

By Nicholas Lewis aged 41 and 1 quarter 


Rich’s Rugby story

My introduction to rugby started at primary school when i was chosen to take part in ‘New Image’ rugby (now known as touch) as part of a school sporting initiative, to be honest, i don’t recall too much about it, but i know that was my first taste.

My introduction to ‘proper’ rugby came courtesy of my Dad. Or more accurately, it came via one of his clients at work, a young fella named Mike Teague. My Dad used to get me the odd signed photo etc, but the biggest buzzes i used to get were seeing Teaguey turn out for England.

This led to my year 7 rugby team, and my efforts to emulate Teaguey and play at number 8, this lasted a few weeks training and half a game after i accidentally backheeled the scrumhalf in the teeth, and was then moved to play at flanker. Much to my dismay.

I had a season or so at flanker, but was thrust into hooker due to injury to other players, and took to it like a duck to water, and ended up keeping my place when everyone was back fit, and even got into Coventry’s youth team and had Warwickshire trials in my third choice position. 

Try scoring was never my forte, i scored twice playing on the wing in a ‘b’ team game and sccored once with a classic forward bellyflop over the line and that was it. For me it was all about hooking against the head,stealing the ball, and not getting caught for various acts of foul play. All of which i was very good at. 

I was injured for most of year 10 rugby at school, after tearing my shoulder/neck muscle in the Coventry schools cup final and then in year 11 injured my knee training with Coventry and pretty much gave up.

In hindsight, i probably should’ve.

In my late teens, i was invited to play for Balsall and Berkswell RFC and spent the pre season getting in some pretty good shape, so much so, i was moved to play inside centre, a position i’d never played before, but at the time i was deceptively quick and pretty big, so had plenty of beef to bring to the backline, unfortunately, in my first full contact game in my new position, i got caught in a maul at an odd angle, which led to 2 herniated discs in my back and the ultimatum from my old boss… your job or rugby.

So i became a full time fan at that point. Gloucester Rugby of course, who else?

They have given me more lows than highs, but some amazing days out, weekends away and sessions on the cider as well as meeting some great people and now with #rugbyunited i am offered a chance to give back to the sport, as well as helping out charities!


This won’t be the last #RugbyUnited blog over the next week or so.

I will be writing the final overview of the #RugbyUnited v Southwest Patriots games this week, and there will be reviews of the games next week.

There will also be some kind of blog about the relationship between Rugby and Charities, inspired by our work with the MS society and an email i received from Braintree RFC. If i find time, i will write that up this week as well. 

I also want a volunteer from each aviva premiership club to email me (Rich_RugbyUnited@mail.com) a quick preview of their club for next season for use in a future blog….

So keep checking back, there may be something new and exciting..




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