Halfway through his first full season as a Glasgow Warrior Cpl Lewis Bean (Rifles) says that he is feeling the benefits of being settled at one club.
Gone are the days spent driving the A428 between Northampton and Bedford, or flying between the East Midlands and Scotland, which the big second rower had to do during his various spells at Scotstoun and Goldington Road last season in addition to his outings in black, green and gold.
He may have had just the five appearances in Glasgow colours, but his performances and attitude was such that Head Coach Danny Wilson was more than happy to sign him permanently, commenting last February that it was “great to secure Lewis’s services for next season.”
Lewis in the thick of it for Glasgow v Munster in November 2020.
Image © Craig Watson
Nearly 12 months on, and with a further nine first team appearances under his belt Cpl Bean is feeling fully settled in life in Scotland’s biggest city.
“It’s been great,” he says. “The club welcomed me and the transition was easy. Ellen, my girlfriend, has come over and Glasgow is a great city. It’s always buzzing, with the Highlands on your doorstep as well, so there’s the best of both worlds of outdoor and city life.
“It’s a new experience to be in a different part of the country.”
From the outside having to adjust from club to club in quick succession might appear frustrating, but Cpl Bean insists that last season has proven to be an essential part of his learning experiences as a relatively new professional.
“It is good to be at one club and be in the squad,” he acknowledges. “But I understand that moving around is part and parcel of rugby and getting game time. Even though it’s a hassle it’s necessary. You can train all day, but until you’ve put it into practice it’s only training. You need to be playing.”
Lewis in training at Scotstoun Stadium in 2020.
Image © Craig Watson
Following two impressive outings away to La Rochelle and at home to Exeter in the Champions Cup, Glasgow faded in Rounds 3 and 4 to finish ninth in their pool, which put them into the Challenge Cup’s Round of 16 in April.
But in the league the Warriors have been going great guns, their bonus point win over Ospreys seeing them head into the Six Nations period lying fourth in the table, tied on 26 points with Ulster.
“We’re doing well this year. We’ve got a good squad and are third in the league, and as a whole we’ve got a good thing going as a club. Rugby’s all about momentum so we’ve got to keep that going, keep ticking over, and getting more wins.
“As a team we’ve got a bit of swag at the moment. Obviously that got dented a bit at Exeter, but with 20 minutes to go we were winning, but then fell apart.
“Going back into the league we’ll have a few internationals away but we’ll keep on chipping away. When the internationals go away I’ll be hoping for a few starts. Being on the bench is OK but everyone wants to be starting.”
Come the spring Cpl Bean’s attention will – selection depending, of course – be as much on the Inter-Services Championship as it will be on the United Rugby Championship, with the Army playing the RAF at Gloucester on March 26th and then the Navy at Twickenham on April 30th.
And even with three months until the Inter-Services Championship gets it’s return following a two year hiatus, the 2020 and 2021 Championships having been cancelled for obvious reasons, Cpl Bean’s excitement and anticipation is clear.
On the charge for the Army v the RAF at Kingsholm in 2019.
Image © Alligin Photography, Scrumpix
“It’ll be interesting with the Army team this year with a few new faces and the players going into camp and getting games,” he says. “And with the Army Navy tickets going on sale we can work towards a big goal.
“It’s going to be huge and it’ll be good to get back into a red shirt, if I’m selected. Hopefully I can pass on some of the things I’ve been learning to the rest of the lads.
“Being in the red shirt means a lot to me. I’ve gone from playing no rugby at all to achieving what I have in my career, and pulling on that shirt and being in that team to represent the Army is a big thing for me. I wouldn’t be where I am without it.
“I want to give something back, and we should all be giving something back.”
For more information about Army Navy match tickets head to www.armynavymatch.org.uk/23/589/2022-ticket-prices-and-on-sale-date
Words © New Dogs, Old Tricks.
Header Image © Craig Watson
Featured Image © Alligin Photography, Lee Crabb