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Ireland on 'red alert' as Louis Rees-Zammit says he has got faster

The Wales wing, who turned 21 yesterday, is a big threat this weekend.

Rees-Zammit scored against Ireland last year.
Rees-Zammit scored against Ireland last year.
Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

LOUIS REES-ZAMMIT WAS already one of the most rapid rugby players on the planet, so the fact that he has got even faster this year should be cause for concern for his Six Nations opponents.

The Wales wing, who turned 21 yesterday, score a stunning try from deep inside his own half for Gloucester in the Premiership last weekend as he tuned up for this Saturday’s clash with Ireland, who are well aware of the threat coming their way.

Speaking today, Rees-Zammit revealed that he has been recording quicker times than ever on the pitch this season, having worked hard on his sprinting technique with Gloucester’s head of performance, Dan Tobin – who previously ran the 400m for Ireland – and his athletic development team.

“We’ve got a GPS device on the back of our shirts and that measures everything in terms of speed,” said Rees-Zammit.

“One day I’ll be quicker than the other, so I know I’m getting faster. I’ve got a speed performance coach at Gloucester and we work on it every day.

“We’ve been doing loads of drills that will help me and it has been showing – I’ve actually been getting quicker which is always good.”

Ireland will aim to limit the opportunities Rees-Zammit has to get up towards top speed on Saturday at the Aviva Stadium, of course.

He scored against them in Cardiff last year, finishing sharply in the corner past Tadhg Furlong, and they have been watching plenty of footage of the young wing in recent times, including his long-range score for Gloucester last weekend.

“I did,” said Ireland centre Garry Ringrose with a smile when asked if he had seen it.

“You have to be on red alert not just if you’re in front of him but if you’re five or six guys away from him because his ability to beat defenders is exceptional and you have to be on red alert.

“Any kicks put in will have to be spot on because if you give him and the back three space and time, his try says it all about what they’re capable of.”

Heading into his second Six Nations, Rees-Zammit will have been scouted in more depth than last time around. That comes with the territory after five tries in his first 12 Wales caps and being part of the Lions tour last summer.

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He appreciates that he needs to keep adding strings to his bow.

“It will be hard to beat [last year], but at the same time I don’t want the second-year syndrome,” said Rees-Zammit.

“I’ve been working hard on my game, and I’m really looking forward to the Six Nations.

“I’m the same old person, really, I’ve just got a bit more experience under my belt from the last Six Nations and then the Lions tour.

“People will [have scouted him], but I have to try and do more so they can’t know everything about me which is what I kind of work on in training.

“They might know a lot about me and the way I play, but hopefully I can do things they won’t know.” 

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