Blog Banner

Lewis looks forward to World Rugby U20 Champs

1st June 2016

Dillon Lewis is aiming for the skies in the World Rugby U20 Championship following a breakthrough season for Cardiff Blues.

The tight-head prop has enjoyed a memorable 12 months - playing in last year’s age-grade global gathering, making his regional debut and winning a Six Nations Grand Slam.

During the 2015-16 season Lewis made 13 appearances and was nominated for the Most Promising Player of the Season award, narrowly missing out to Garyn Smith.

Now he is focused on international affairs once again with the tournament kicking off in Manchester next week with Ireland first up.

Lewis said: “I’d like to think we can go all the way but we have to concentrate on the group – Ireland, Georgia, New Zealand – and take each game as it comes. 

“Winning the Six Nations builds a lot of confidence into this tournament. We have had a good couple of weeks training as a team and got a lot out of that. 

“We’re going in confident and have a good chance to do well in the group stages and then kick on.

“But this is a new task to concentrate on, we’re not looking at underdogs, favourites or anything like that, we have a job to do and have prepared well to do it.

“In the Six Nations, Ireland put more points on us than any other team so we know they are a good attacking threat. 

“That’s something we’ve really looked at in training and it will be a good test and marker to see where we are.”

Reflecting on his breakthrough season with Wales’ Capital Region Lewis was grateful for the opportunities he received and the advice and support from his experienced teammates.

A trip to face Montpellier in the European Challenge Cup stands out as a particular test – coming on in the first half to pack down against Georgia’s Mikheil Nariashvili in a front row which also included Springbok veteran Jannie du Plessis.

Lewis added: “It was outstanding to get the opportunities to play at that level under Danny Wilson.  

“It’s a great achievement for me, going into the season I didn’t expect to get that much game time. 

“For experience it’s second to none at Cardiff Blues with Gethin (Jenkins), Fa’ao (Filise) and Salesi (Mafu’u). For a young tight-head coming through and trying to learn there is no better place. 

“It’s been a great learning curve and I’ve picked up a lot off the field as well. Montpellier away for me was probably the biggest test.

“I was on the bench and Fa’ao came off 25-30 minutes into the first half with an injury and I had to come on. I’ve never played in front of such a hostile crowd or against a team of that calibre.”

There are nine Cardiff Blues players in the Wales U20 squad - Corey Domachowski, Kieron Assiratti, Dillon Lewis, Liam Belcher, Seb Davies, Shane Lewis-Hughes, Morgan Sieniawski, Jarrod Evans and Harri Millard, plus Rhun Williams who will arrive after the tournament.

The young guns take on Ireland at 5.30pm on Tuesday, June 7, before facing Georgia and New Zealand.