Louis Rees-Zammit says he will be looking to do his family proud when he makes his first Wales start against Georgia on Saturday.
The teenage winger has had to bide his time this year amid the growing public clamour for Wayne Pivac to unleash him onto the international stage.
He didn’t get on the field during the Six Nations and was then struck down by shin splints after making his Test debut as a sub against France in the autumn opener.
But now he’s in from the start for the Nations Cup clash with the Georgians at Parc y Scarlets.
“I am so excited for this weekend and obviously I will be thinking of my family because without them I probably wouldn’t be here today,” said the 19-year-old.
“I am really looking forward to it and just trying to make my family proud.”
One of those relatives watching keenly will be his uncle Paul ‘Pablo’ Rees, who played at full-back for Cardiff and Pontypool in the 1980s.
“He is very excited for me,” said the Gloucester youngster.
“I have spoken to him a few times and he has said to go and enjoy it, so that’s all I am trying to do.”
While he has had to wait his turn of late, it’s been a pretty meteoric rise for the Cardiff born-and-raised Rees-Zammit overall, given he only made his English Premiership debut in April 2019.
“It’s all come so quick. It only feels like last year I was in the U18s, playing for my college…well it was actually!” said the former Hartpury student.
“Now I am starting for the Welsh national team. It’s amazing and I can’t wait to play this weekend.
“I’ve had a couple injuries, shin splints, which unfortunately didn’t allow me to play the last few games.
“It’s just been a case of trying to get intensity back in my legs and then working with the boys again.
“I’m back up for selection, I have trained hard trying to get on the team and luckily I’ve got the start this week.”
So what would his reaction have been, he was asked, if someone had told him a couple of years ago he would be starting for Wales ahead of George North?
“I probably would have laughed,” he said.
“I can’t wait to get started and show people what I can do.
“It’s my opportunity to show everyone and put my hand up for next week.
“There are a lot of young boys playing this weekend, so it’s a big opportunity for us to put our name on the teamsheet for next week or the following weeks coming up, so we’re really excited.
“I’ve got to know all the boys really well and obviously that helps on match day because you get those link ups and it’s so much easier to communicate.
“I am really looking forward to it now and just getting that whistle blown.”
As Rees-Zammit was tearing it up for Gloucester towards the end of last year and racking up the tries, there were some who wondered whether he might possibly play for England.
Former fly-half Andy Goode took to Twitter to ask the question “Is Louis Rees-Zammit English qualified?”
The young winger, who played his junior rugby for Llandaff and Rumney, provided the most succinct of replies, posting the Welsh flag, to make his allegiance clear.
“I tweeted Andy Goode the first time and it’s always been Wales,” he said.
“I haven’t really thought about playing for England.”
Welsh fans have been delighted to hear it and they will now be relishing the prospect of seeing the try machine in action this weekend.
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