Round two of the 2021 Guinness Six Nations has come to a close, with three Gloucester Rugby players swapping out the cherry and white, to represent their national colours.
Gloucester Wingers Louis Rees-Zammit and Jonny May, along with versatile centre Chris Harris all started for their countries. Here is a recap on how the Kingsholm trio performed.
LOUIS REES-ZAMMIT – WALES
Where else to start but to review the outstanding Man of the Match performance by flying Gloucester and Wales winger Louis Rees-Zammit.
Having only turned 20 this month, the sky is certainly the limit for Rees-Zammit. He showcased his ability as a dangerous attacking threat, by scoring two tries, and gaining an assist, against Scotland.
His first try neatly finished off a well-orchestrated Welsh attack, to reduce Scotland’s lead just before half time. Having ran onto the ball at pace, the Welshman displayed fantastic footwork to cut inside off of the right wing, and weave past Darcey Graham to score.
Early in the second half, Rees-Zammit worked inside from his wing, and assisted Wales’ second try. A great line break through the centre of the pitch left his opposite number Graham wrong-footed, Rees-Zammit then passed wide to Liam Williams who ran in unopposed to score.
His second try was certainly the highlight of the 20-year-old’s perfect performance. Picking up the ball just inside his own half, the aptly nicknamed ‘Rees-Lightning’ burst past Duhan Van Der Merwe, along the right flank, before chipping the ball over Stuart Hogg.
The ball bounced favourably for Rees-Zammit, who then dived over to score a memorable try. His second try secured the away win for Wales, who left Murrayfield victorious by the narrowest of margins, 24-25.
Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones praised Rees-Zammit after the match, and said in the post-match media that “He is good enough, irrelevant of age, he showed that again today.”
JONNY MAY – ENGLAND
Jonny May made history in England’s dominant 41-18 win over Italy, as he overtook Ben Cohen, in becoming England’s second highest leading try scorer.
The Gloucester winger’s impressive ariel finish was his 32nd try for England, and only Rory Underwood has touched the ball down more times whilst wearing the red rose, with a breath-taking 49 tries.
The 30-year-old’s finish was replayed on repeat, and rightly so. He dived over Luca Sperandio’s attempt to tackle him into touch, and grounded the ball in outstanding fashion, to score England’s third try of the afternoon.
After being an interim Number 8 with a brief scrummaging spell against Scotland, May continued to build his reputation as a ‘hybrid player’, as he got stuck into the typical ‘forward jobs’.
The winger secured a handful of rucks, popped up in rolling mauls, and even won a turnover in one! May worked hard in attack and defence, to seal off the win over the Azzurri.
CHRIS HARRIS – SCOTLAND
Despite Scotland losing out to Wales by just one point, positives can be taken by Gloucester’s Chris Harris.
Harris effectively controlled the centre channel alongside James Lang, and kept Wales guessing as to whether he will carry into contact, or distribute neat offload passes to keep the flow of the Scottish attack alive.
A nice switch pass back inside to Finn Russell caught the Welsh defence off-guard, which ultimately lead to the fly-half finding space in the backfield, which due to poor communication by the Welsh defenders, lead to Stuart Hogg’s first try.
At times against Wales, Chris Harris was at risk of blending into the background of the Scottish backs line-up, but that did not stop him from doing his job effectively, despite not grabbing the headlines.
As Scotland were hot off of their historic win at Twickenham against England, all the Scottish eyes were on the trio of the treasured captain Hogg, the enigmatic fly half Russell, and breakthrough South African born winger, Duhan Van Der Merwe.
Overall, it was not the most memorable game for Harris, but there are certainly positive signs to take forward for the remainder of the competition.