Wales wing Louis Rees-Zammit’s try-scoring exploits and poster-boy looks are winning him fans far and wide, with even coach Wayne Pivac’s stepchildren among the Gloucester flyer’s legion of admirers.
The 20-year-old has scored three tries in Wales’ opening two wins of the Six Nations, with Pivac’s men bidding for a Triple Crown against reigning champions England in Cardiff on Saturday.
And Pivac is well aware of the impact made by Rees-Zammit.
“I’m probably going to embarrass some family members but I’ve got twin 14-year-old stepdaughters and they’re after an autograph and photograph when we get out of Covid,” the Wales boss joked after naming his team on Thursday.
“He seems to be a sensation with the youngsters and a few of the grandmothers, from what I gather.”
The New Zealander added: “Look, he’s a good-looking young man, he’s burst onto the scene and he’s fulfilling a lot of promise that he’s shown at a young age.
“I’m just pleased for him because the changes we’ve seen in Louis since we first selected him during last year’s Six Nations have been phenomenal.”
Rees-Zammit will be in opposition to England wing Jonny May, a Gloucester team-mate, with two of the fastest men in international rugby union sharing the pitch at the Principality Stadium.
Last week May, who started his senior career when Rees-Zammit was aged eight, admitted: “On a good day, I can just about keep up with Louis. He is as quick as anyone I have come across, very young with the potential to become faster.”
But May said it was important England kept working on their own attacking game.
Eddie Jones’s men failed to score a try as they launched their title defence with an 11-6 loss to Scotland — the Scots’ first win at Twickenham since 1983.
They then ran in six tries, including a spectacular diving effort by May, as visitors Italy were routed 41-18.
“We’re aware that we haven’t shown the best of ourselves yet,” said May, now second behind Rory Underwood in England’s all-time list of try-scorers.
“Our attack was poor against Scotland and that’s what really shone the light on it. It was a bit of a moment where we got smacked.
“And it was like, ‘oh OK, that’s where we are’. And there was a shift against Italy and we just want to keep building on that now.”