Stephan Lewies admitted the approval of Harlequins’ senior stars helped convince him to accept the captaincy reins for the upcoming 2020/21 season. 

The 28-year-old lock joined Quins ahead of the last campaign having played Super Rugby for both the Sharks and Lions in South Africa, and made 20 appearances as Paul Gustard’s side finished sixth in the Premiership and exited the European Champions Cup at the pool stage. 

With long-serving skipper Chris Robshaw having departed the Twickenham Stoop for San Diego Legion in the USA, Gustard picked the Springboks international as his preferred choice to take on the armband. 

But Lewies explained that the call came as a huge surprise, and he took time to consider his decision before accepting the added responsibility. 

“I asked for a few days to reflect on it,” he said. “Never in my wildest dreams when I signed did I think I’d be in this position. 

“It’s a big decision and it has to be best for the team so I made a few phone calls to some of the senior players - Danny Care, Joe Marler and Mike Brown - to get their thoughts. 

“You need those senior players buying into a leader. They’ve been part of this club for a long time and it’s not a one-man job; it’s a team effort. 

“All three of them were massively supportive, so after speaking to them I had more confidence in the role and I accepted it.”

Despite being initially unsure about taking on the role, Lewies is hugely proud to follow in the footsteps of Robshaw, as well as other famous Harlequins captains such as Keith Wood, Will Carling, Jason Leonard and Andre Vos. 

And he is duly excited to lead out his team on their impending return to Premiership action at home to reigning domestic and European champions Exeter Chiefs on November 20. 

He added: “It’s a massive opportunity and a huge honour. It comes with big responsibility, but it’s something special and I’m really excited.  

“Chris Robshaw was an amazing leader and I learned a lot from him. I still look up to him. 

“I was a youngster when Andre [Vos] played. Growing up playing for the Springboks, he was someone we all looked up to. They are big shoes to fill in that regard.”