Josh Lewsey

Josh Lewsey
Full name Owen Joshua Lewsey
Date of birth (1976-11-30) 30 November 1976
Place of birth Bromley, London, England
Height 1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)
Weight 87 kg (13 st 10 lb)[1]
School Watford Boys Grammar School
University Bristol University
Rugby union career
Playing career
Position Fullback, Wing, Centre
Amateur clubs
Years Club / team
Amersham & Chiltern RFC
Old Fullerians RFC
Professional / senior clubs
Years Club / team Caps (points)
1998-2009, 2011
London Wasps
National team(s)
Years Club / team Caps (points)
British and Irish Lions
correct as of 1 Sept 2006.
Sevens national teams
Years Club / team Comps
2002-2008 England
correct as of 1 Sept 2006.

Owen Joshua "Josh" Lewsey MBE (born 30 November 1976) is a world cup winning rugby union player, British and Irish Lion and British Army Officer.[2] Specialising in Organisational Performance, he has also spent over 12 years working in the business sector, having led and consulted on various strategic change projects, most notably with PricewaterhouseCoopers and Citigroup. He was the Head of Rugby for Wales for the Welsh Rugby Union, leading the strategic and structural aspects for both the Elite and Community game on behalf of the Executive Board.[3]


Lewsey was born in Bromley, London but spent most of his childhood in rural Hertfordshire. He attended Watford Grammar School for Boys.[4] He later went on to study Physiology at Bristol University.

Despite the fact that he was born in England, his Welsh heritage meant he could have played for Wales.

He commissioned from the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in 2001 as a troop commander into the Royal Artillery. However, after two years of combining the Army and a professional rugby career, he found that doing both justice became impossible, and he resigned his commission. He has said this was the hardest decision of his life.

Rugby career

While at school he played for the Amersham and Chiltern Rugby Football Club. He first played for Wasps at eighteen in their Colts side, before being selected for their senior team. In that season he made his first appearance for England, in the U19s against Italy.

During his time at Bristol University, Lewsey combined his studies with playing professionally for Bristol RFC. He then rejoined London Wasps at the age of twenty one after completing his degree. He won his first full England caps in 1998 against New Zealand and then South Africa.

In the following years, he was an integral member of the hugely successful Wasps side that won 12 trophies, starting with the Tetley’s Bitter Cup in 2000. In that final, he scored the opening try against Northampton, having spent the morning at Sandhurst with his platoon on routine room inspection, block cleaning and parade drill.

Lewsey appeared for England in all three tests in the 2001 North American tour, and was an important member of the England side that won the Hong Kong Sevens in 2002. He also represented England in sevens at the 2002 Commonwealth Games, opting to play in the tournament over touring Argentina with the National team.

Lewsey made his England home debut in the Six Nations Championship in 2003 after an injury to Jason Robinson. He scored twice in a 40-5 win over Italy. He followed this with the opening try in his next game against Scotland, and was part of the Grand Slam winning side. He had a key part in the tests against New Zealand and Australia on the June 2003 Southern-hemisphere tour. By then he was first-choice Full back, Jason Robinson having moved to wing. He was a part of the 2003 World Cup winning squad, and scored five tries in the 111–13 defeat of Uruguay.

He was selected for the 2005 British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand. He made an ideal start scoring two tries in the first five minutes against Bay of Plenty. Lewsey was widely viewed as a standout player for the Lions, despite the team’s poor results. Lewsey continued to be an integral part of the England team at the 2006 Six Nations, and this consistency meant that he became the most capped England player between the 2003 and 2007 World Cups.

This run of form continued at his club, where he scored 11 tries at the 2007 Middlesex 7s to help Wasps win their first Middlesex 7s title since 1993. He became the tournament's top try and points scorer. Lewsey won a total of 12 trophies with London Wasps including four domestic titles, two Heineken Cups and three Cup competitions.

Lewsey featured heavily in England's campaign to retain the Rugby World Cup in 2007, playing in every game en route to the final. He scored the only try against France in the 14-9 victory which put England into the last two. However, just before half-time in the same match he picked up a hamstring injury which ruled him out of the final. Despite Lewsey arguably playing some of the best rugby of his career after the tournament, that semi final was to be his last game for England.

England's coach Brian Ashton did not select Lewsey for the England squad to compete in the 2008 Six Nations squad. However, he was called up for Martin Johnson's England Squad for 2008/2009, but despite standout performances for his club, he was never selected.

On 10 December 2009 Lewsey announced his retirement from international rugby to concentrate on his club career, ending his time in the England set-up, which spanned more than 10 years and claiming 55 caps with 22 tries scored.[5]

On 5 April 2009, Lewsey announced that he would retire from Rugby at the end of the 2008/09 season. That year with Wasps he won Player of the Year, but was not selected for the 2009 British and Irish Lions team for the tour to South Africa.

Career post playing

Lewsey released his autobiography on 5 February 2009 titled "One Chance: My Life and Rugby". While rugby heavily featured in his book, he also discussed more personal aspects of his life and general views on issues such as the countryside and importance of sports in communities.

Lewsey was always notable for his pursuit of interests outside rugby. In 2005 he completed his Postgraduate diploma in Law. He also set up a leadership development and business consultancy, which looked to apply organisational performance lessons from sport and the military, into business.

In 2009 he joined PwC as a management consultant, where he led various strategic change projects for a number of clients in different industries.

In September 2011, Lewsey joined Citigroup Global Markets Ltd. as an equities sales trader. After a year in the role he undertook a review of the division’s structural trading model, and was subsequently offered the role of Head of Business Advisory Services, EMEA.

In March 2013 having spent several years outside the world of sport, he took up a six-month position as Interim CEO at the Cornish Pirates. During his time there, Lewsey pressed the need for the club to “represent its community” and “harness the power of the identity of Cornwall”.

On 30 August 2013, Lewsey was appointed Head of Rugby at the Welsh Rugby Union. In mid 2014 he announced a new initiative to support the grassroots game, establishing School-Club Hubs to safeguard the future of rugby in Wales. By September 2014, the WRU had 43 schools participating in the scheme.

Other interests

As an avid climber, in 2006 Lewsey was given the summer off from international rugby and spent time climbing in the Himalayas reaching the base camp of K2. He did not inform his club of the expedition as he was sure they would object.

In 2010 Lewsey and his friend Keith Reesby were unsuccessful in their attempt to climb to the summit of Mount Everest via the difficult North Col route. Both climbers were within 500 feet of the summit when breathing apparatus failure caused them to abandon the ascent. Lewsey admitted afterwards that he had "never felt so scared" as the two climbers attempted to descend from over 8500m without supplementary oxygen.


External links

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