Director of Rugby Chris Boyd believes Lewis Ludlam has taken his game to a new level in recent weeks, after Northampton Saints’ skipper was named Gallagher Player of the Month for April.
The back-row became the second Saintsman this season (after Alex Mitchell in November) to scoop the award – which recognises the standout player in the Gallagher Premiership across the month.
April saw Northampton extend their winning run in the league to five matches – with the men in Black, Green, and Gold collecting three bonus-point victories after a nine-try thriller against Bristol Bears, an astonishing come-from-behind triumph against Bath, and a nail-biting finish against Harlequins.
Ludlam led from the front in all three matches, and Boyd insists he is continuing to grow into his role as Northampton’s captain in what is his first season in the position.
“We’re of course proud to see Lewis named Gallagher Player of the Month, following Alex Mitchell winning the award back in November as well,” he said.
“Lewis has made a massive contribution, both on and off the field, over the last few weeks since he returned from his injury sustained during the Six Nations.
“He is very much a leader of hearts for our team, and his performances on the field have matched his responsibility as Club Captain.”Chris Boyd, Director of Rugby
“We came through a couple of very tight matches against Bath and Harlequins in April, and Lewis really stood up in those games. He’s got some good lieutenants around him – more experienced players who often say the right things at the right time to support him – but at the end of the day, Lewis is becoming our premier leader and he’s the key cog in tying everything together on the field.
“He delegates very well, speaks very well, and understands what it means to be the captain of this Club. But the biggest gift he gives us is his commitment and level of performance on the pitch.”
Across Saints’ three Premiership matches in April, Ludlam – who boasts 10 England caps so far – played the maximum 240 minutes for Northampton.
The back-row also scored two tries and assisted another, while racking up 37 carries and 28 tackles along the way.
Boyd added: “Lewis is in a rich vein of form; his work rate in terms of carries and tackles is always very high, but where he has definitely improved his game is in his post-tackle leg drive.
“He’s an aggressive player who likes physicality in the game, and that leg drive is now Ardie Savea-esque. His ball carrying in the wide channels is also adding another dimension as well.
“Luds is genuinely capable enough to play in the six, seven, or eight jerseys which is a real string to his bow.
“We’ve had a few injuries in the loose forwards over the last few weeks, so keeping Lewis fit, healthy and on the field will be very important for us over the final rounds of the season.”