Welsh wunderkind Louis Rees-Zammit has been tipped by Wales legend Shane Williams for a starting berth on the British and Irish Lions series this summer.

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Tries from Josh Adams, Taulupe Faletau and two from hooker Ken Owens ensured that Wales’ bonus point was wrapped up inside 30 minutes against Italy in their Guinness Six Nations match in Rome. George North, substitute Callum Sheedy and Rees-Zammit then dotted down to compound the hosts’ misery in the second half, with Australian-born Monty Ioane’s try providing their only consolation.

Rees-Zammit’s 70-metre interception effort was the Gloucester speedster’s fifth touchdown in just his eighth Test.

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The sight of Rees-Zammit tearing up the pitch saw pint-sized Welsh icon Williams say on ITV’s commentary that were it up to him, he’d have him starting Tests for the Lions. “If the Lions were playing tomorrow, I would have him in my Test team”

Williams was an idol of Rees-Zammit growing up and the pair chatted on a podcast last year in a meeting that nearly moved the young winger to tears.

“What I see with you, you’ve come through the academies and schools and you’ve hit the Premiership flat out,” Shane told the Gloucester wing on his podcast. “You’ve got this confidence that I haven’t seen in a new player since George North. I like the way you play. You’re a little bit cocky and arrogant and there’s nothing wrong with that.”

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“If you can bring that and develop that in the Welsh set-up and get that first Wales cap that I think you should have got in the Six Nations, I think you’ll be fine.

“You don’t need to change anything in what you’re doing. You’re full of confidence and you back your speed. When you get the chance to play for Wales, you do exactly the same.”

Rees-Zammit of course has since gone on to do exactly that.

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– additional reporting AAP

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