Northampton Saints youngster and former St Joseph’s College pupil Lewis Ludlam is impressing at Coventry
- Credit: Archant
Former St Joseph’s College skipper Lewis Ludlam is facing a crucial six months in his professional career, as he battles to earn a new deal at Premiership giants, Northampton Saints.
The 19-year-old forward penned a one-year professional deal with the Saints in the summer and is currently gaining first-team experience at National One outfit Coventry, on dual registration, for whom he has impressed during a current record-breaking 14-game winning streak.
The England Under-20 player also has the small matter of the Under-20 Six Nations – which begins later this month – and the Under-20 World Cup, which starts in the summer, to aim for.
“I definitely want to stay at Northampton but I won’t know for the next few weeks,” said the former Ipswich schoolboy.
“The Saints go through all my games at Coventry with me and give feedback and, based on my performance, I will be offered the chance to stay or they will let me go.
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“It’s incredible to be at Saints and the past few seasons just go to show why they are the club to be at.
“As a young player you learn so much, training with the first team, as there are a lot of internationals and a few (England) Lions.
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“To come up against the likes of Tom Wood, Phil Dowson and Callum Clarke, and to see the level you will have to be in a few years time, is awesome.”
Ludlam was one of four St Jo’s youngsters to earn professional deals in the summer and still keeps in touch with George Wacokecoke (Bath, one-year deal), Dan Lewis (Oyonnax, one-year deal) and Karl Wilkins (Clermont Auvergne, three-year deal).
Wacokecoke and Lewis’ futures are unclear and, like Ludlam, they will be doing everything they can to stay at their respective clubs.
Ludlam hopes his current path will help him.
“It’s going fantastic, Northampton sent me out to Coventry to help me develop as a player, as there is only so much training you can do at a club,” added Ludlam, who practices twice a week with Coventry as well as fulfilling his training commitments with his parent club.
“It’s definitely a step up from school rugby and you are playing with men, a lot of whom are on the way up or have played at a higher level, and some that are on the way down.
“It makes for an interesting situation to play in, it’s more physical, but playing as many games as possible in a match situation will help me improve as a player.”
Coventry are currently second in National One, six points behind the Ealing Trailfinders, but are on the aforementioned splendid run which Ludlam is relishing.
He explained: “Coventry have been fantastic and gave me a chance straight away to prove myself.
“They have been very supportive which can’t be easy for them when they have players in their squad who don’t know how long they are going to be there for. It’s gone awesome and I think I have added to their fantastic 14-game winning run which is a club record.
“I now have a big six months ahead of me with the Six Nations and the World Cup, I am part of the England Under-20s squad. but unfortunately I picked up an injury at the weekend.
“I am awaiting the results of the MRI scan but I am hoping I can be fit.”