'Social media shot up after the Scotland game. I got 70,000 people following me... it was very weird'
Louis Rees-Zammit has given his first interview as a Guinness Six Nations title winner for Wales, the 20-year-old telling The Rugby Pod about his feelings while watching last Friday’s France versus Scotland game, how Wales celebrated the result, what it is like being an overnight Instagram sensation and his acquaintance with ex-England and Manchester United footballer Paul Scholes.
Rees-Zammit played for Gloucester in their win over Exeter last Friday at Kingsholm and it wasn’t until the late stages that he was back at home to watch events unfold in the Test match in Paris, a result that led to the Six Nations trophy being presented to Wales the next day at their Vale of Glamorgan training base.
“Our game was brought forward, we finished against Exeter with a good win and my dad drove me up so on the way back I could watch the Wales game,” explained Rees-Zammit on the show co-hosted by Andy Goode and Jim Hamilton.
“So I caught the last ten minutes in the house with my family and I was so scared. I didn’t know if France were going to win it or whatever. Even in the 82nd minute when France couldn’t even win, I was still nervous. That was a good night, to say the least.
“We had a few Proseccos, that was the first time I actually had Prosecco, to be honest,” he continued, detailing what happened the next day when Wales met up. “It was weird because you were just in a barn and you were like yeah, not full of fans and screaming, but to win the Six Nations is a dream come true and I really enjoyed it.
Episode 31 is now LIVE on YouTube!
Two quality guests this week in Stuart Lancaster & Louis Rees-Zammit who are no strangers to winning some silverware of late.
All that plus some Lions chat and Premiership action thrown in for good measure ?
— The Rugby Pod (@TheRugbyPod) March 30, 2021
“I don’t know what it would feel like with fans but there was definitely a lot less pressure when I was running into stadiums, especially watching it on TV when there were fans and going to Stade de France and there were 80,000 French fans screaming at you, you don’t want to make one mistake do you? It was definitely a lot easier. I just can’t wait for fans to be back.
“When I first went in last Six Nations, I didn’t play but Wales made me feel very welcome. I settled in really well. At the start, I walked into the changing rooms and you see all these big players and you just say hi from a distance.
“The next campaign you are kind of settled in then and you’re making friendships and you’re getting closer with the boys and that helps massively when you are playing because if you don’t really know someone the chemistry is not going to be there. I have definitely settled in really well and all the boys have made me feel very welcome.”
That chemistry was pivotal in Rees-Zammit becoming a Six Nations star, scoring in the opening round win over Ireland and adding two more in the thriller away to Scotland which brought him to the attention of many new admirers.
“It was a bit weird at the start and then after a few games I kind of got used to it and the social media shot up after the Scotland game. I got 70,000 people following me (on Instagram) after that one try or the two tries, it was very weird.
“I didn’t get much media training because everything has happened in such a short period of time, I have just been using every interview as a training method. There is definitely advice out there. A few of the Gloucester media team have been speaking to me. I just try and focus on my game but yes, I am thoroughly enjoying my professional rugby and I am just trying to keep on doing what I am doing.”
Wales next beat England at the end of February to clinch the Triple Crown and while Gloucester colleague, English winger Jonny May, has been on the receiving end of some banter, Rees-Zammit was respectful by not bringing his Six Nations medal to training.
“He [May] has been getting some stick by Mark Atkinson which is quite funny but no I didn’t do that,” he said, adding that won’t reveal who might be the quicker of the pair, downplaying the evidence of a previous race.
“Jonny has actually done shuttles across the pitch then so he was a bit tired and I was a bit fresher in that race. On another day he could beat me, I’m not sure. At the end of the day, he is my teammate, I am never going to say who is faster because we don’t know.”
Rees-Zammit also touched on his rapport with ex-United footballer Scholes, whose daughter he dated for a while. “He had a word with me (about playing for England and not Wales) but it was going in one ear and going out the other.
“He had actually never watched rugby, had never watched a rugby game and he watched me for the first time, I think it was Exeter at home last year and that was the very first rugby game he had ever been to. So yeah, he said he enjoyed it and he still watches the games actually.”
Andy Goode finds room for just 1 England player in his Lions XV while his old @TheRugbyPod mucker Jim Hamilton voices jolting opinions regarding Owen Farrell and Alun Wyn Jones #LionsRugby
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) March 30, 2021
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