Wales v Georgia: Wing Louis Rees-Zammit has ‘something special, an X-factor’

Wales coach Wayne Pivac congratulates Louis Rees-Zammit after the wing came off the bench to win his first cap against France
Wales coach Wayne Pivac congratulates Louis Rees-Zammit after the wing came off the bench to win his first cap against France
Venue: Parc y Scarlets Date: Sat, 21 Nov Kick-off: 17:15 GMT
Coverage: Live text and BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru & BBC Radio 5 Live commentary on the BBC Sport website and app; live on S4C

Louis Rees-Zammit has the “X-factor” talent to be one of Welsh rugby’s greats, according to David Humphreys.

The Gloucester wing, 19, makes his first Test start on Saturday against Georgia in the Autumn Nations Cup.

Rees-Zammit won his first cap off the bench in October’s friendly in France and Georgia high performance consultant Humphreys tips him to win many more.

“I’ve watched him all the way through since he first appeared for Gloucester Under-18s,” said Humphreys.

“From the outset we knew there was a special talent there. I don’t think anybody could have predicted how fast he would move from under-18 level and make the impact he did in Gloucester at Premiership level.

“I remember a game, Gloucester A-team against Bristol A-team away, and I was travelling down with (former head coach) Johan Ackermann and (ex-defence coach) Jonny Bell in the car and I said that I’d seen Louis play at under-18 level and he’s got something special, he’s got an X-factor.

“Literally from the first kick-off he scored that wonder try where he beat four or five players, so that almost set the tone for what he was going to bring to professional rugby.

“He’s got all the attributes you look for in any young player coming through. He’s got a real balance to his game, a feel for his game which sometimes takes time to develop in younger players.

“He’s got good footballing ability and confidence, which you need, and I have no doubt that with the right support around him… he’ll go an and have a stellar club and international career.”

Under current Welsh Rugby Union selection rules, once Rees-Zammit’s current contract expires with Gloucester he will have to sign for a Welsh region if he wants to continue playing for Wales.

But for now, former Ireland fly-half Humphreys – who was director of rugby at the English club from 2014 to 2020 – believes Kingsholm is the ideal place for Rees-Zammit to continue his development.

“One of the great things if you’re looking for role models in terms of his development… with Gloucester now with Jonny May and Ollie Thorley, he’s got two very good role models,” Humphreys added.

“Jonny has been around and done it, (is) up there with the most professional players that I have ever come across – so Louis can learn a lot from that – and then (there is) Ollie’s absolute intensity and drive to be the best that he can be, which is equally important for someone who has got the natural ability Louis has.”

Rees-Zammit is looking forward to his chance.

“I am so excited and I’ll be thinking of my family because without them I probably wouldn’t be here today,” he said.

“I’m looking forward to it and I’m just trying to make my family proud.

“It’s all come so quick, it only feels like last year, well it actually was in the under-18s, playing for my school, playing for my college, and now I’m starting for the Welsh national team. It’s amazing and I can’t wait to play this weekend.”

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