Louis Rees-Zammit: Wales wing shows his star quality in Six Nations

By Gareth GriffithsBBC Sport Wales
Six Nations 2021: Wales v England
Venue: Principality Stadium, Cardiff Date: Saturday, 27 February Kick-off: 16:45 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC One, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru, BBC Sounds, BBC iPlayer & Radio 5 Live, BBC Sport website and app, S4C.

It is not often in modern day rugby somebody will make you jump out of your seat and scream at the television.

Wales wing Louis Rees-Zammit provided that moment for the Welsh nation in their living rooms with his Murrayfield magic on Saturday thanks to a virtuoso two-try display.

It led former Wales captain Jonathan Davies to declare "a star is born". Few will disagree.

The signs have been there with Rees-Zammit's Wales squad call-up at 19 and a try on his first start against Georgia in November 2020.

A fine finish against Ireland in the Six Nations win was followed up the double against Scotland for a tally of four tries in Rees-Zammit's first six internationals.

His Edinburgh exploits, though, have propelled the 20-year-old Gloucester star to a wider audience.

"I did not see that coming at all, that was very special," said Rees-Zammit.

"It means so much to me and my family. Hopefully I can do it again in our next few games.

"I turned my phone on for a split second afterwards and it was going mad! I'm not focused on that, though, I'm enjoying the win with the boys.

"We've worked hard as a group to try and get a performance and win. We know it wasn't pretty, but all that matters is getting the five points."

His stunning second try at Murrayfield seems destined to be continually replayed.

"I was calling for the ball nice and early as I saw there was a lot of space on the outside. Thankfully Willis [Halaholo] gave it to me. I tried to use my gas to get on the outside of their winger," he said.

"Thankfully I did that and saw there was no backfield [cover], which is always nice to see. It gives you that opportunity to put it through, and try and get the bounce. It bounced up lovely for me!"

Rees-Zammit has been around the Wales squad for a year and admitted it took time to adjust.

Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones says there's much more to come from Louis Rees-Zammit

"It's a lot different to the [English] Premiership, the physicality and speed of the game," said Rees-Zammit.

"When I first came into camp for the last Six Nations it was a shock, even in training. I didn't play, but in training I was blowing after five minutes! I've worked with the S&C [strength and conditioning] squad and all the management and am a lot fitter now."

Rees-Zammit will not claim he is the finished article and defensively he was found wanting on a couple of occasions against Scotland, which was pointed out by Wales coach Wayne Pivac after the match. In attack though, he is electrifying.

A Triple Crown awaits on 27 February in Cardiff if Wales can defeat England.

"Two out of two wins a great start to the campaign," said Rees-Zammit.

"We've got England in two weeks which will be a huge game at the Principality.

"We're going to be as motivated as ever to go into that game and try and get a win. The boys will be absolutely buzzing and we'll go all guns blazing for that game. Hopefully we put on a performance that gets a result."

Whether Rees-Zammit goes back to play for Gloucester at Bath on Friday remains to be seen, but club-mate Jonny May will be rested by England.

The two wingers could then face off in Cardiff the following weekend.

"I train with him every day and have learned a lot," said Rees-Zammit.

"It's going to be interesting to actually play against him. I did in the autumn, but he wasn't the opposite winger. It's a bit different this time. It should be a good show. I'm sure Jonny will say he's excited to play against me, and I'm the same."

So can Wales fans start dream about a Grand Slam?

"Not yet," was Rees-Zammit's cautious reply.

"We've got a massive game against England and have Italy and France away. It helps getting the first two wins, but by no means does that win you the trophy.

"It's head-down now. Hopefully we train well over the next couple of weeks and put in a performance against England.

"We're not starting very well. We need to come out the blocks a lot harder. Both games, Ireland and Scotland, we started with a 20-minute period of conceding penalties, and lacked a lot of discipline, they [both] took the lead.

"Thankfully we're coming out of the blocks hard in the second half. We're going to try and replicate that from the starting whistle."

Even talk of the Triple Crown, Grand Slams or Six Nations titles seems strange given Wales only won three out of 10 competitive matches in Pivac's first year in charge and finished fifth in the 2020 Six Nations.

"Those campaigns were building for this," said Rees-Zammit.

"There's been a lot of different line-ups, and Wayne (Pivac), Stephen (Jones) and Gethin (Jenkins) with all the other management are setting up how they want us to play. It's starting to click a bit now.

"We're not overly happy with our performances in the first couple of weeks, so we've got a lot of work-ons to take into the build-up to England.

"We're nowhere near the finished article, hopefully we'll show that in the next few games and can put on a performance worthy of that."

SIx Nations 2021: Pivac has massive Wales midfield dilemma v England - Roberts

Top Stories

Elsewhere on the BBC