Alex Cuthbert: Exeter wing dreams of Premiership title success

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Wales wing Alex Cuthbert says joining Exeter was right decision
Gallagher Premiership final: Saracens v Exeter
Venue: Twickenham Date: Saturday, 1 June Kick-off: 15:00 BST
Coverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC local radio, plus live text commentary on the BBC Sport website

Exeter wing Alex Cuthbert says his decision to forgo his international ambitions is justified as he prepares for the Gallagher Premiership final against Saracens.

Cuthbert joined Exeter from Cardiff Blues last season knowing the transfer made him ineligible to play for Wales.

The 29-year-old has his first chance of silverware when he plays in front at Twickenham on Saturday.

"I want to win trophies," said Cuthbert.

Cuthbert scored 16 tries for Wales, including the Grand Slam-winning score against France in 2012, and a double in the 30-3 win over England in the Six Nations title decider in 2013.

He also scored a try for the British and Irish Lions in the first-Test victory over Australia in 2013.

After an injury-curtailed first half of the season, Cuthbert has battled back into the team and is preparing to run out for Exeter against defending champions Saracens in front of more than 80,000 supporters.

"It has been everything I thought it would be," Cuthbert told BBC Sport Wales.

"One of the main reasons I came down was to win trophies and we have a great opportunity this weekend.

"I have not played as much as I would have liked but have worked my way back and glad to be involved at the business end of the season.

"It will be my biggest club stage. I have played plenty of big games with Wales and the Lions so am looking forward to another big occasion I hope I can rise to.

"A win would be right up there in my career. I came here to win the Premiership and to have the chance in my first year is special."

Liam Williams and Alex Cuthbert were Wales team-mates
Liam Williams and Alex Cuthbert were Wales team-mates with Cuthbert playing his last Test match in November 2017

Familiar foe

A familiar face will stand in his way, with Wales' Liam Williams lining up on the Saracens wing.

"I have seen some stat he has won pretty much every game he has played bar one this season," said Cuthbert.

"We are good mates and he is flying with Wales and Saracens and I am looking forward to that battle with him."

Cuthbert's move to Exeter came at a price though: his international career.

Under Welsh Rugby Union rules, players outside Wales must have 60 caps to be eligible for the Test side and Cuthbert has won only 47 caps for his country and one more for the Lions.

Cuthbert insists he has no regrets.

"I have enjoyed every minute of it," said Cuthbert.

"It was definitely the right decision for me. I am enjoying rugby and I probably have not been this excited for a while.

Alex Cuthbert scores one of his two tries in the Six Nations title win over England in 2013
Alex Cuthbert scores one of his two tries in the Six Nations title win over England in 2013

"I put a lot on the line in terms of leaving Wales and especially with them winning the Grand Slam this year.

"I resigned myself to missing the buzz of international rugby when I came down here. I miss running out at the Principality Stadium because there is no feeling like that in the world.

"It was hard to watch but I know what that feeling is like in the changing room. I am a proud Welshman and I was delighted for them.

"I felt during the tournament they would only get better and it was the same in 2012 and 2013 when we won. They look a settled squad, full of confidence and I wish them all the best in the World Cup."

Home from home

Cuthbert says he is content after a difficult couple of years in Wales where he found himself the target of social media criticism.

The scrutiny is still there at Exeter but just relayed in a different fashion.

Alex Cuthbert
Alex Cuthbert has scored two tries in 16 appearances so far for Exeter this season

"It might be a bit more relaxed but you would be surprised how everyone in Exeter knows their rugby well and everyone supports the Chiefs," said Cuthbert.

"You walk through town and everyone always seems very positive. That is nice."

Those fanatical fans will head to Twickenham for a fourth successive Premiership final hoping Exeter can avenge last season's defeat against the same opponents who have also been crowned European champions this season.

"The boys have said they did not feel like they fired a shot against Saracens in the final last year," said Cuthbert.

"The message this year is play like ourselves and do like we have been doing all season."

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