Wales 16-9 France, Six Nations
Cuthbert sets sights on future success
March 18, 2012
Alex Cuthbert's try against France helped Wales towards their Grand Slam © Getty Images
Wales star Alex Cuthbert is already eyeing future success after helping his side take the Grand Slam.
The 21-year-old Welsh wing was one of seven players aged 24 or under in the starting line-up which defeated France 16-9 at the Millennium stadium. Now the man who took up the sport only five years ago but has scored three tries in his first six Tests believes Wales have a golden future.
Cuthbert said: "We've got the likes of myself at 21 and George North, only 19. We've still got a lot to develop as a team and as the years go by we can only get better. I am looking forward to the future. We can go forward as a team. With the young players we've got the future is going to be awesome."
It has been a remarkable journey for Cuthbert who was born in Gloucester, took up rugby as a 16-year-old at Hartpury College and qualifies for Wales because his mother, Caroline, was born in Wrexham. He could have played for England but was spotted by Wales sevens coach Paul John when he joined Cardiff Blues and admits Wales were always his first choice. His big chance came with the retirement of Shane Williams and he has grabbed it to such an extent that he is a certainty for Wales' summer tour of Australia.
"I started from the bottom and I have worked hard to get where I am," Cuthbert said. "The continuity we've had the whole of the 6 Nations has helped. We're all really good friends and it showed on the pitch with the tries we've been scoring.
"Two months ago I was just expecting to be training with the Blues in the senior squad, let alone scoring a try in the Grand Slam game. But training with world-class players has upped my game. The competition in the squad is enormous. We have two or three boys in every position so training is key.
"You have to train well to get in the team. I've worked hard on my weaknesses and I'm still developing."
Cuthbert admitted taking inspiration from the coach drive to the stadium when Wales coach Warren Gatland played tapes of this season's Welsh tries and also past heartaches, such as Leigh Halfpenny's penalty which fell agonisingly short in the World Cup semi-final against France.
"It was motivational," said Cuthbert. "It showed what we could do. It was special (as we came through the crowds) and I will remember it for the rest of my life."
Cuthbert is studying for a sports science degree at Cardiff Metropolitan University and has been taking some stick from his Mercedes-driving teammates.
"I'm driving a little Clio," he said. "I don't mind that stick so long as I am playing well on the pitch. In a couple of weeks it will probably sink in and I'll think about what has been going on in the last four years."
Cuthbert also recognised the part played by former captain Mervyn Davies, who died after a long battle with illness earlier in the week, in an emotional afternoon in Cardiff. Tributes to the big number eight, who won two Grand Slams with Wales in the 1970s, were played on the big screen and there was a minute's silence in his memory.
"I knew of him and it was an extra boost," said Cuthbert. "A lot of the boys knew about him and how good he was so it was special to win it for him."
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