Rugby Union

Army's Lewis Bean Makes Northampton Saints Debut

Army forward Lewis Bean said he had "no idea" that when he joined the military he would get the chance to play for Northampton Saints.

The 6ft 8in second row caught up with Forces News after making his debut for Saints in a 39-18 away loss to Sale Sharks in the Premiership Rugby Cup.

The Corporal has moved from Northern Ireland, where he was based with 2 RIFLES, to further his rugby career but it was the Army where his career started to take off.

"I first started doing it at the Army under 23s... to be fair, I wasn't very good at all, they were going to drop me," he said. 

"Then it was actually Andy Sanger [former Army rugby union head coach] who picked me up to do the Army Senior team and basically just started learning from the players, the coaches there.

"I played the 100th Army v Navy and that was really the kickstart into civilian rugby, from there, I got offered a few contracts from various clubs but I chose to go with Birmingham Moseley."

Lewis Bean trains with Northampton Saints team mates 250919 CREDIT BFBS
Lewis Bean trains with his Northampton Saints teammates.

Bean went on to play for Worcester Warriors and it was his form for the Sixways side during the 2018/19 campaign that secured his move to Saints.

"When I joined [the Army], I had no idea I would be sat in Franklin's Gardens playing Premiership," he said.

The 27-year-old brings a wealth of experience to Saints - both on and off the rugby field. 

The rifleman has completed two tours of Afghanistan and says his teammates like his military background: "It goes down pretty well normally, especially at Saints, we've got quite a good military background here. 

"A lot of the lads will ask me, 'what was it [Afghanistan] like?', 'what was you actually doing out there?'

"I like to share my experiences and let the lads know how it is because a lot of them have just done rugby all their lives, so I think it's good that they want to ask questions." 

Northampton Saints training session outside Franklin's Gardens.
Northampton Saints training session outside Franklin's Gardens.

The second row-rifleman is contracted to Saints for the whole 2019/20 season and is one of a handful of elite military players now competing in the Premiership.

Bean, who is expected to be called up by the Army for Inter Services matches against the RAF and Navy, said he "will definitely be there, without a doubt".

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