Why Alex Cuthbert no longer speaks to Andy Powell
Cuthbert was the subject of significant criticism in Wales – both from the media and the Welsh public – during a dip in form for Wales between 2014 and 2017. The social media abuse, in particular, got to the point where the 6’4, 106kg winger admits he hurt his on-field performances.
Cuthbert turned his back on the infamous ‘gold fish’ bowl of Welsh rugby in 2018 and refound his form and love for the game with the Exeter Chiefs in the Gallagher Premiership, before returning to Welsh regional rugby last year with the Ospreys.
But the 32-year-old hasn’t forgotten the flak he received and admits he doesn’t always appreciate his fellow professional who’ve morphed into hard-bitten pundits . Cuthbert admits he has now cut ties with former Wales teammate Andy Powell after the No.8 came after him in the press and online.
“I’ve sort of fallen out with him really. I remember after one of the World Cups he gave me quite a bit of s***. I was sort of done with him really.”
The winger says Powell criticised him in both the press and on social media.
“A bit of both [in the press and in the media]. I just wiped my hands of him. There’s a few boys who did over the last couple of years. I haven’t got time for that you know.”
But it isn’t just Powell. Cuthbert says he’d never go in the commentary and feels many former players don’t realise the effect their words have on younger players.
“There’s a lot of boys commentating now that do that [criticise their former teammates in the press]. They’ve forgotten that they’ve all been the same position, when they get paid to say some of the s*** they say. A lot of them have a very short memory.
“They think they can say anything they want without any repercussions when they forget that everyone believes what they read or hear.
“It’s not great for a lot of young boys especially. Just what they go around saying. They think it’s harmless but I don’t think they have the right to say some of the s*** they say. It’s just the way it is.
“I don’t have time for a lot of that. Hence why I don’t think I’d ever go into commentary. I wouldn’t want to fall down that same road.
“You’ve got people with columns and articles and they saying stuff willingly, ‘Oh, I’ve got to say something stupid. Oh, I’ll say that.’ There’s quite a bit of that.
“Some people are pretty good at it. I feel like Ugo [Monye] is pretty good at it. He’s always quite positive.
“With the Welsh public it’s not positive at all. Ever. When I was at Exeter it was always positive, whether we lose or win.
“The Welsh press always go in on everything. This tour now, the whole of the Welsh media will be saying we are always going to be hammered. We’ve got no chance, stuff like that.Ci
Cuthbert now deals with the online abuse far better, a coping mechanism that allowed him to recapture some of the form that had seen him become a British & Irish Lion in 2013. Now back in the Wales set-up, he says know only looks to close friends, family and coaches for feedback on how he is playing.
“It’s not just me, that’s the thing. I got friends and family on those platforms.
“I was quite young everything went upwards and then I had a blip and it went down. I didn’t know how to deal with it. We’re rugby players, we’re not people who know how to deal with social media.
“It’s tough to know how to react to that. It’s hard not to take it to training and the game week.
“I had a tough couple of years but I actually ended up being positive in a weird way.
“I’m not on social media but I’m on Instagram with my business and that. It just developed me as a bloke in terms of how I react to situations in games. Whereas before I’d have been quite bad. Now I react differently. I’m on to the next job.
“I must be doing something right as I end up playing for every team I’ve played for. I have that mentality now, whereas they try to do as best as I can.”
“It’s especially bad in Wales. Whoosh.”
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