Lewis Ludlam opens up about race, diversity in the game and being a role model in O2 Inside Line

Episode two of the England Rugby Podcast: O2 Inside Line featuring flanker, Lewis Ludlam, is released tomorrow, 1 March.

Lewis provides his perspective on the challenges as a mixed-race kid in rugby in a predominately white area and the changing perceptions of rugby. He talks about wanting to be a role model for kids who look like him, and the importance of his dad, and family, in developing him into the person he is today. Listen to episode two ahead of public release here.

Episode one of the series, with Ben Youngs performed well, reaching number six in the sport charts on Apple podcasts. Youngs, who became England men’s most capped player during last Saturday’s England v Wales game, spoke movingly in the first episode about his brother Tom as well as the challenges of growing up with dyslexia.

Speaking on the podcast Lewis Ludlam said: “When I first got into rugby I’d look into that England rugby team and I didn’t see many people I could relate to, the likes of Jason Robinson maybe but he was one of a few. To see this England rugby squad now and the diversity in it, not just in race but in terms of different backgrounds and where people are coming from, I think it’s something that’s so exciting for English rugby and the community as well.

“Being young and going down the local rugby club and realising that no-one looked like me but all the parents and kids made me feel welcome; I don’t think you can underestimate the power you have on other people and how your actions and how you hold yourself has an effect on especially young kids.

“Where I’m from Kesgrave there’s many people that look like me, but going down the local rugby club and realising I didn’t look like any of these kids and didn’t come from the same background of any of these kids, that didn’t matter. They let me slot straight in, get involved and treated me as one of the group; it was a really nice place to be.”

Former director of sport at St. Joseph’s College, Mike Patterson, where Ludlam attended on a sport scholarship said: “When I first met Lewis the most easiest thing to sum him up was just determination and a good attitude in everything that he did, albeit he was only, sort of, 12,13.

“The thing that struck me for someone of that age was his work rate, his general attitude, and, to be honest, his leadership was absolutely phenomenal from even a really early age.”

All four episodes will be available on Acast and all major podcast providers. Season nine will continue with four episodes featuring the Red Roses which will be released during the TikTok Women’s Six Nations Championship which starts on 26 March.

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