It has been a long road to recovery for Worcester Warriors flanker Sam Lewis, and teammate Max Stelling believes his return to Anglo-Welsh Cup duties will feel like a new signing at Sixways.
The 26-year-old Lewis has not appeared for the first team since May 2015, back when Warriors were in the Championship, two months after he arrived from Welsh side Ospreys.
But a troublesome shoulder has kept him out of contention, a blow that reared its ugly head once again in March when surgery was required. Finally he is ready to take to the stage for his side’s Anglo-Welsh Cup trip to Wasps this Sunday.
And for Stelling, the return of Lewis has given a lift to everyone at Sixways, now hoping he can make his mark at the Ricoh Arena this weekend, far from the easiest game upon which to make a return.
“Sam has worked incredibly hard and it’s a testament to him to now be back after all the adversity,” he said.
“Just to be training with him is fantastic, all the lads are really looking forward to seeing how he goes on Sunday and hopefully can come straight back at it.
TEAM NEWS | Van der Sluys and Haisila Lokotui set for debuts at Wasps while Lewis, Betty and Biggs return.
— Worcester Warriors🏉 (@WorcsWarriors) November 11, 2016
“It’s been a huge frustration on his part, going through all the setbacks and procedures he has is tough on anyone. I know it’s a massive relief for him to be able to put the Worcester shirt on and he’s hugely excited for the game.
“But there are no easy games to come into, so a trip to the Ricoh won’t bother him too much.”
The Warriors have enjoyed a positive start to their Anglo-Welsh Cup campaign, getting the better of Bristol Rugby 31-25.
But that followed what was undoubtedly a disappointing October, winning just one match in all competitions, a run Stelling is desperate to address.
And with Northampton Saints to come in next week’s Aviva Premiership Rugby clash, the centre is keen to put together a run of form befitting of the side’s work behind the scenes.
“Any win does lots of good for the club, and to get two on the bounce would give the whole club a real positive feel going into the Northampton game,” he said.
“It can go a long way but we’ve got to do the job on Sunday first.
“We’ve not spoken much about Wasps. They’re an exciting team, we know they’re a group that love to score tries but we’re exactly the same.
“We’ve spent the game worrying about ourselves, putting a game together that, if we can execute, can put them under pressure and lead to us scoring.”
The second round of the Anglo-Welsh Cup kicks off this weekend. For full details of the tournament and tickets for the Final at the Twickenham Stoop on Sunday 19 March see www.new-heroes.com