Louis Rees-Zammit has gone back to his rugby roots to ensure he emerges from lockdown as sharp as ever.
The Gloucester flyer has been training in the park across the road from his new Cardiff home as he attempts to maintain the speed that carried him to the top of the Premiership scoring charts and to the verge of a first Wales cap.
Pontcanna Fields holds a special place in his heart as it was on those very pitches that he first picked up a rugby ball and took his first steps in the game as a member of the junior section at Llandaff RFC.
Rees-Zammit, 19, should have been looking forward to a trip with Wales to Japan and New Zealand this summer but instead is left wondering when he might return to playing.
“This is the longest I’ve been without rugby in my whole life. I can’t wait to get back to play, whether it is behind closed doors or in front of a crowd,” he said.
“Lockdown hasn’t been that bad, I haven’t found it difficult to motivate myself. I moved into a flat with my elder brother, Taylor, about six weeks ago and we’ve been training in the park on the same pitches where I used to play as a junior with Llandaff.
“I’ve been working hard there and going home to my parents’ house to do gym work. I’ve been keeping up my skills and sprint training and I’ll be ready when we get back. Hopefully we will come back soon, it was annoying when it ended because I was on form.”
After his impressive debut season, Rees-Zammit has designs on copying NBA star Michael Jordan’s meteoric rise to international stardom having recently watched his Netflix documentary.
He added: “When I’m not training I’ve been spending hours on the Xbox playing FIFA and watching a few documentaries – I watched Michael Jordan’s Last Dance series the other day.
“It shows how he went from college to become the best player in the NBA in the space of a year. It’s a great watch, and a real inspiration, because that’s something I wanted to do.”
Rees-Zammit’s seven Premiership tries have him top of the scoring charts and he was voted Player of the Month in December – “the best month of my life”.
That started a run of significant events as he signed a long-term contract with Gloucester and got picked for the Wales Six Nations squad.
“This season has been a good experience for me. I’ve got used to the Premiership both physically and mentally and every time I get the ball I know I need to make an impact,” he said.
“I take it game by game and just give it my all for the team. I know I have a lot of work-ons, but they will definitely get better if I keep working on them. Every training session I do extras.
“It was disappointing not to get a cap during the Six Nations, but hopefully my time will come and when it does I’ll be ready to take the opportunity. I thought I’d have been ready earlier in the season, so I’m now more than ready to put that shirt on and perform.
“The Welsh coaches were very encouraging and told me I’ve got the talent and to be ready to make the most of my chance when it comes.”
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