Wales Rugby: Scrum-half Lewis learns from bodybuilder brother

Ffion Lewis
Ffion Lewis plays for Scarlets
Women's international: Wales v Hong Kong
Venue: Cardiff Arms Park Date: Friday, 16 November Kick-off: 19:00 GMT

Wales women's scrum-half Ffion Lewis has an unusual sporting inspiration in her family, her bodybuilding brother.

Florida-based Flex Lewis, 34, has won seven Mr Olympia titles, beating the record for consecutive titles set by actor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Ffion makes her first start against Hong Kong on Friday and says her famous sibling has provided inspiration.

"Flex is an example, he was told he wasn't good enough to begin with," she told BBC Sport Wales.

"He was a rugby player to begin with, but he was told he was too small!

"I've got three brothers, we've all been brought up pretty well with great morals and our parents installed into us that nothing comes easily, it all comes down to hard work," said the 21-year-old Scarlets and Gloucester player, who made her Wales debut as a late replacement in the 19-5 win over South Africa.

"He got told he could never make it, and he's learned to prove people wrong. I was told I wasn't good enough, and I wanted to prove people wrong, I'm lucky to have such a supportive family."

Ironically 'Flex', whose real name is James, got his nickname for his flexibility as an elusive runner on the rugby field.

So is there a lesson from the 17-stone powerhouse's success for a scrum-half who weighs in at more than six stones less?

"My weight's going up, but I'm stronger and fitter. As long as I've still got my speed, the weight's not an issue," she explained.

"I think it's about understanding the pressures but not changing your focus on the end goal, just ensuring you don't get side-tracked.

Flex Lewis
Flex Lewis took up body building when he was a student

"I'm there to do a job and do my country proud, he's worked so hard and the end goal is that trophy which he's been able to lift."

Because of the age gap, Florida-based Flex was only at home in Wales until Ffion was five or six.

"He has not yet managed to watch her playing at senior level, but she got to the USA in 2017 to watch one of his triumphs.

"It was amazing, because being at home until [I was] five or six, you have an understanding but you don't really see it, it was a different world out there," she said.

"He was absolutely gutted there won't be a [regional] match to watch when he comes home at Christmas, but hopefully we can arrange it in future."

As well as her playing efforts, Ffion is involved with coaching junior and disability rugby at the Scarlets.

But on Friday against Hong Kong, she will be focused on making a mark in the number nine shirt - and making her family proud.

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