Stephen Lewis: Harlequins captain says Premier League final win ‘would be massive’

Lewis was named captain of the Harlequins in November, succeeding Chris Robshaw
Date: Saturday 26th June Starting: 17:30 GMT Place: Twickenham
coverage: Live coverage on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra, BBC Radio Devon and BBC Radio London, text commentary on BBC Sport website

Harlequins captain Stephen Lewis described Saturday’s Premier League final against Exeter as “a very difficult task”.

The Exeter Chiefs will play in the sixth straight final while Quins have not participated in the tournament since they last won the title in 2012.

The South African said the final would be “my biggest yet” after he had not won a title since he was 21.

Lewis was only named captain for the Queens at the start of the season and admitted: “It’s going to be tough to lift that trophy.”

The 29-year-old explained that he spoke to the team about the opportunity the final represented.

“A lot of players are going through their careers, you reach the semi-finals and you are very happy to be involved,” he said.

“There are some great players who played a full career and won nothing at the end of it.

“These matches don’t come every week. The boys understand how great it will be on Saturday.”

Harlequins celebrate their win over Bristol
Harlequins celebrate their win over Bristol

Marler asked Queens to “believe” in Bristol

Lock helped 6 feet 5 inches (196 cm) lead the London club to the next final The biggest comeback in Premier League history is in the semi-finals.

They were 28-0 away in Bristol, but eventually ran out 43-36 winners after extra time.

Lewis explained that leaving the field between the two halves of the semi-final “he could see that the strikers were tired.”

As soon as Lewis reached the locker room, she turned around to support Joe Marler to join the half-time talk and said, “Marler spoke well and we asked the boys to believe.”

Despite the incredible efforts made to reach the final, Lewis said that while the semi-finals will be a match that “we will remember for the rest of our lives…that’s a thing of the past and Saturday won’t help us”.

Exeter is the reigning Premier League champions and will be looking to win back-to-back domestic titles for the first time.

“They are a world-class team and it will be a tough job,” said Lewis. “But if you want to be the best, you have to beat the best.

“We will never say after last weekend, but it will be difficult to come back if they make significant progress.”

The ‘Collective Effort’ Behind Queens’ Success

On a personal level, Lewis has spoken of following in the footsteps of great Harlequins leaders including Will Carling, Jason Leonard, Andre Voss and Chris Robshaw.

“It’s a great honor to be the Queens captain, but it’s a team effort,” he added.

He explained when offered to the captain that he didn’t accept it right away, choosing to speak with top players Danny Kerr, Mike Brown and Joe Marler, saying he wouldn’t accept it if they didn’t support him.

He also credits Quins’ number-eight contribution from Alex Dombrandt, who spearheaded the team through Lewis’ injuries this season, and the rise of half-back Marcus Smith as captain.

He described the club’s leadership group as the “backbone” of the team, with a healthy mix of youth and experience.

Lewis won a single cap from Springbok in 2014 and described playing for his country as a “dream”.

However, he understands that the world champions have “some of the best locks in the world” and that “it shouldn’t be easy to put on a Springbok shirt”.

“If you put in the shows and work hard enough and they realize it, it will be a dream come true again,” he said.

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