Louis Rees-Zammit: Wales wing has ‘rugby brain’ to go with pace, says James Hook

Louis Rees-Zammit scores Wales' winning try against Scotland
Louis Rees-Zammit’s try in the 70th minute proved to be the winning score against Scotland

Wales wing Louis Rees-Zammit has the “rugby brain” to go with his pace, says former Wales fly-half James Hook.

His man-of-the-match performance came just six days after Wales’ win over Ireland, in which he also scored a try.

“The way he glides is phenomenal, the frightening thing is he says he can get quicker,” Hook told BBC Radio Wales.

Rees-Zammit, who plays for English Premiership side Gloucester, has helped take Wales from a disappointing autumn to being a win away from a Triple Crown.

After Wales’ win at Murrayfield, captain Alun Wyn Jones said he hoped Rees-Zammit’s performance was “the tip of the iceberg”, but warned against putting pressure on the wing.

Wales’ all-time record try scorer Shane Williams echoed Jones on social media, urging fans not to put “the weight of the country” on Rees-Zammit’s shoulders.

However Hook, who also spent time playing for Gloucester, believes fans are right to get excited about the 20-year-old.

“We don’t want to pile too much pressure on him but this is what sport is all about,” said Hook.

“You want people like him to stand up and take the game by the scruff of the neck. Why not get excited about him?

“This reminds me of George North’s first cap against South Africa. There was a massive buzz of excitement after that game and this feels exactly the same.

“Obviously he’s got phenomenal pace but he has a rugby brain to go with it. These games for Wales aren’t a flash in the pan, he’s been doing it for Gloucester for the last couple seasons.”

Selection dilemmas against England

Wales’ quest for the Triple Crown will come down to their game against England at the Principality Stadium on 27 February.

Wayne Pivac was missing a staggering 21 players for their trip to Murrayfield, with key figures such as George North, Jonathan Davies, Johnny Williams, Tomos Williams and Josh Navidi all absent through injury.

Gareth Davies and Dan Biggar started against Scotland but were replaced early in the second half by Kieran Hardy and Callum Sheedy, a big gamble for Pivac which paid off.

Despite the early withdrawals of Davies and Biggar, Hook believes Pivac will stick with the duo when he selects his team to face England.

“Willis Halaholo was very good when he came on and changing the half-backs was a massive call,” said Hook.

“I think Wayne Pivac will stick with Dan Biggar and Gareth Davies but, if things aren’t going to plan, he won’t wait until 70 minutes to change it.”

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