Rugby Union

'Like Being Back In Platoon': Army's Lewis Bean Discusses Life In Professional Rugby

The Glasgow Warriors player talked about juggling military life and professional sport.


Glasgow Warriors and British Army rugby union star Lewis Bean says military life and professional rugby are "pretty similar".

The lock, who serves in Second Battalion, The Rifles, also revealed that he would not have played rugby if he hadn't joined the Army.

Bean is now a key player for the Warriors, having signed permanently with the Scottish team in March.

His professional rugby career includes spells with Worcester Warriors and Northampton Saints, and he says his military lifestyle prepared him perfectly for elite sport.

"To be fair, I feel like the transition has been pretty easy," he said.

"Rugby work and the Army life are pretty similar.

"You come to work, have your breakfast with the boys, and then you've got your gym with the boys.

"It's just like being back in platoon really."

WATCH: Lee Soper: From line outs to battle lines.

But how is he allowed to be a professional rugby player while serving in the British Army?

He explained: "I go back to camp every now and again to do my stuff with them, but they've given me a sabbatical.

"I try and do as much recruitment and promotion for the Army because, obviously, I've got quite a unique story to tell.

"I think anyone could do it as well.

"I came from never playing rugby before to all of a sudden playing at Twickenham - I thought that would be the highest highlight of my career - to then playing with some of the best teams in top leagues."

But the Army-Navy clash at Twickenham is still one of the games Bean most looks forward to.

"They are the games you want to play in," he said.

"Army-Navy is a real big game for me.

"It's where it all started and obviously it's massive representing your force.

"It's great for me and my regiment to play in that game.

"I've got a good friend - Sam Matavesi [Navy forward] - obviously it's great to play against him and once we win, it's good to rub it in his face as well."

Army Navy rugby union match at Twickenham
Bean said the Army-Navy game at Twickenham "is a real big game for me" (Picture: PA).

Bean has grown into an influential rugby player but he was originally more interested in football.

Gradually, his sporting tastes were influenced by those around him in the military.

"When I first joined, we were quite busy with operational duties but when we got back, you've got the Fijian lads and the [Pacific] islanders - they'd always be throwing a ball about and you get playing with them," he said.

"It just kind of took off from there really.

"I think the right people saw me and a few lads pushed me in the right direction."