Wales wing Alex Cuthbert believes that Louis Rees-Zammit’s ability to learn and absorb information “like a sponge” will underpin his intriguing positional switch against Argentina on Saturday.
For only the third time in 80 games for Gloucester, Wales and the British and Irish Lions, Rees-Zammit starts at full-back.
The prolific try-scoring wing steps in with Leigh Halfpenny and Liam Williams both injured, while Cuthbert fills Wales’ number 14 shirt vacated by Rees-Zammit.
The 21-year-old has showcased mesmeric skills during a rapid rise from Gloucester’s academy to Test rugby, and Cuthbert believes he will take it in his stride.
“He is one of the quickest players in rugby, and they (Argentina) have to be wary if they want to kick it long and give him space,” Cuthbert said.
“Hopefully, he can get a lot of ball in space and then that gives myself and Rio (Dyer) a bit more space out wide because they are going to have to mark him up.
“I am looking forward to seeing Louis at 15. He has trained really well in the position all week, and it will be exciting to see him have a crack at it.
Big Tuesday session ✅
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“We do a lot of sort of extras together in training, and a youngster like Louis is really like a sponge, just taking everything in as much as possible.”
Rees-Zammit was a 10-year-old schoolboy when Cuthbert made his Wales debut against Australia in 2011.
The Ospreys wing is back to win a 53rd cap after recent injury troubles, and he remains a key part of Wales head coach Wayne Pivac’s plans ahead of next year’s World Cup in France.
And he returns in a team desperate to start making amends for last weekend’s crushing 55-23 defeat against New Zealand at the Principality Stadium.
“I have had my targets for the last couple of months, and I have hit them all and I am just excited to get back out there,” Cuthbert added.
“They (Argentina) have got some serious firepower in the front-five, so we are going to have to match up physically.
“I think everyone is fighting for positions and you know how much of a big year it is, and everyone is just sort of trying to get better every campaign.
“I probably feel better physically and mentally than I have in many years. I feel like I am getting better as a player.
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“So, hopefully now with young players coming through, I can keep my head and produce performances towards my target at the end of the season.
“It is good to be surrounded by those boys. It reminds me of when I was young and came into the squad.
“They are complete sponges in terms of taking in so much information, and I am trying to feed in as much as I can for them, but I am still getting a lot from them, which is good.
“As a squad, we have had three or four weeks together, so hopefully now we can show what we do and what we did do in the summer (against South Africa).”