Louis Rees-Zammit didn't sleep for two days over single incident against England
Louis Rees-Zammit helped roar Wales to their last Grand Slam as an excited spectator – but two years on he is chasing the dream as one of Test rugby’s most thrilling talents.
The 20-year-old Gloucester wing will win his eighth Wales cap in Saturday’s Guinness Six Nations clash against Italy.
And victory over the Azzurri would leave Wales needing to topple France next week in pursuit of a sixth Six Nations title and fifth Grand Slam.
Rees-Zammit underlined his electrifying talent by scoring tries against Ireland and Scotland last month, and he was inches away from adding another one during a Triple Crown-clinching victory over England 12 days ago.
On that occasion, the ball would not sit up for him following a long counter-attacking kick and chase, but his worth to Wales is increasing by the second.
Wales beat England and Ireland at home during the 2019 Six Nations clean sweep – experiences that Rees-Zammit fondly recalls.
“I was at the England game, at the top of the stands celebrating when ‘Jadsy’ (Josh Adams) scored in the corner, and the Ireland game too,” Rees-Zammit said.
“Two years ago I would never have thought this would be the situation I would be in, but I am, so I have to live in it and show everyone what I am about and hopefully perform this weekend.
“I only live 10 minutes away from the stadium (Principality Stadium), so I’ve gone to watch Wales since I was a kid, really, with my parents.
“I couldn’t tell you how many games, but loads. I’ve grown up supporting Wales. It has all come very fast, and I am loving it, to be honest.”
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) February 17, 2021
Although Rees-Zammit only made his international debut less than five months ago, his attention to detail and exacting standards that he sets himself are underlined by that agonising try-miss against England.
“Trying to do something every time I get the ball is my goal,” he added.
“I was devastated that I didn’t score in the 70th minute (against England), or whatever it was. I couldn’t sleep for two days afterwards.
“Every time I tried to fall asleep I would think about that ball, how it didn’t bounce up for me or how I tried to kick it.
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) February 26, 2021
“I know those moments are going to come a lot in my career, and I have just got to move on to the next job. With the bounce of the ball it’s a tough one, but other things like diving into the corner or the kicks over the top you can practise.
“As long as we get the win, that is all that matters.
“It is all about momentum, and obviously winning at home against Ireland and going up to Scotland and doing a job up there really helped us in terms of momentum, and thankfully we got the win against England as well.
“We are not really focusing on the Grand Slam at the moment. We’ve got a big game ahead this weekend.
“It has been quite a chilled week. We are not really listening to the outside, we are just trying to keep it all in our camp, really.”
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