For those who were present on a wet and wild afternoon in Pontypridd back in December 2012, the Autumn internationals could prove to be a chance to say ‘I was there’ following Alex Lozowski’s meteoric rise to the England squad.
Back then a 19-year-old Alex was called by then Head Coach Diccon Edwards to play having impressed with the University of Leeds side. The match report from the day remarked, 'Lozowski in particular showed a cool head at full back on a bog of a pitch that was in terrible condition before kick off and steadily got worse as the game drew on.'
It was the Economics-students break into professional rugby union having been part of the Chelsea FC academy until he was 16.He started at Pontypridd having been a travelling reserve on three occasions for the first team already that season. He commented at the time, “I did pre-season at the university and got invited down by Mark Luffman to train with the Leeds Carnegie Academy. From there I got the chance to train with first team whenever I could.
“I was travelling reserve for the Cup game against Jersey at York and then for the Championship match down at Cornish Pirates. That was a long way to go but I was happy to do it. I was involved the previous week against Pontypridd as well, and it was a good experience to be around the matchday squad. To see how things go on the day was invaluable," added the full back.
Lozowski is the son of former Wasps and England centre Rob Lozowski, who gained his only cap for England against the Grand Slam-winning Australians in 1984 on the same day that Stuart Barnes, Gareth Chilcott, Nigel Melville and Nigel Redman also made their England debuts. Alex was a member of Wasps Academy until moving to Leeds in 2011 to study at the University of Leeds but a broken leg put his rugby career temporarily on hold. He commented, "I only turned to rugby after my time at Chelsea ended. I was spotted playing for Wasps amateurs and they asked me to train with their academy but when I decided to go to university that ended for me. I picked up playing rugby again when I got to Leeds but never really thought it would be something I would take up as a career.”
Lozowski was in the same Chelsea Academy side as Great Britain sprinting sensation Adam Gemili and he admits that the chance to pursue a professional sporting career is a second chance was something he wanted to grab with both hands. “The whole football thing meant you had to commit to it fully and forget about your education, that was a risk my family and I were not prepared to take. I wanted to go to university and give myself options."
He did not feature for the remainder of that season, however the promotion of James Lowes to Head Coach the following season saw Lozowski become an integral member of the squad, cemented his position at fly half. He made 25 appearances in the 2013-14 season including playing in both Championship semi final legs against London Welsh and scored eight tries during the campaign.
He moved to Wasps at the end of that season, having been named the club's Young Player of the Year and completed his Economics degree, returning to his father's former club, but a move to Saracens this season has seen him propelled onto the international stage. If he does feature in the Old Mutual Wealth Series against South Africa, Fiji, Argentina or Australia this Autumn, those who were at Sardis Road that December day four years will be proud to see one of our own continue his incredible progress.