“The best way to succeed is to try one more time.” – Sanlam Confidence Rule Book #6

By Millin Thomas | Photographs: Lizette Smit & Supplied

Former professional rugby player and pivotal member of Darling Rugby Club, Earl Lewis, is a man whose life has been deeply influenced by his remarkable yet challenging journey. Throughout his school years, Lewis’ dedication and passion for rugby became evident but he faced some adversity while carving out his pathway en route to ticking off the dreams.

Resourceful and facing each challenge head-on sums up the last 15 years for the Sanlam Boland Top12 Darling captain.

His confidence on the field has overflowed to his career path off it. Lewis currently works as an account manager for a very successful office automation international conglomerate. He is married to Lorin and the couple has two kids.

“Lorin and my family are so supportive of me; it bodes well for when you need that little motivation in a tight game. Confidence is key when you must back yourself against tough opposition. Life much like rugby does not always give you the right bounce of the ball, it is unpredictable and that is why I love being part of this team so much. With this team, we can make magic!”

Photo: Earl Lewis with Lorin and his two children.

He quickly rose through the ranks, being appointed as head boy, showcasing his outstanding leadership skills at a young age. In 2004, at just 17 years old, he made his debut for the Darling 1st team.

“Everyone at Darling Rugby Club and in Darling is so resilient and resourceful,” Lewis said. “This tenacity has fueled my confidence over the years, something I carry with me always. I am very proud to call Darling my home. The confidence I gain from hearing, seeing, and feeling the backing I have from my teammates, coaches, and management makes my task as captain a little easier.”

Recognising his immense potential, Lewis’ skills did not go unnoticed by Boland Rugby. He was selected for the Boland Craven Week team in 2005. For the following three years from 2006 to 2008, Lewis represented Boland in the Under 19 and Under 21 teams.

It was in 2008 that his talent caught the eye of former Blitzboks coach Paul Treu, who invited him to join the Springbok Sevens training squad in Stellenbosch.

Lewis would make his Vodacom Cup debut for the Boland Kavaliere in that same year. In 2009 he moved to Johannesburg where he represented the University of Johannesburg in the Varsity Cup. It was in Gauteng that Lewis’ talent once again caught the eye of a professional side, this time, the Lions. After penning a contract with the Johannesburg franchise, Lewis turned out for the Lions in the Vodacom and Currie Cup competitions.

Photo: Earl Lewis dresses up confidently for when he is not putting body on the line for Darling RC.

In that same year, Lewis was selected to represent the Springbok Students team. This recognition illustrated his growing stature and showcased his skills on a national platform. Being selected to play for the Springbok Students team highlighted Earl’s prowess and further solidified his place among the country’s top rugby talents.

Injury halted Lewis’ rugby-playing aspirations in 2009, but much like his earlier childhood years, he found a pathway and made it work for him. He sought opportunities to continue playing, and in 2014, while working at Impala Platinum mines, he achieved success by winning the Community Cup, now known as the Gold Cup. In the latter part of 2014, Lewis moved back home and continued playing for the Boland Kavaliere.

A brief stint at the Western Province club, Hamilton SP, before returning to captain his beloved Darling RC in 2017.

Under his leadership as captain, the Darling Rugby Club achieved an outstanding feat by being crowned the Swartland Champions in 2019. The team’s unbeaten record in the league demonstrated their prowess on the field and Lewis’ ability to motivate and lead his teammates to victory.