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Cameron WInnett

Cameron Winnett and Alex Mann of Wales with their first caps

Q&A: Cameron Winnett and Alex Mann

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What did it feel like lining up alongside your teammates singing the national anthem at Principality Stadium on your debuts?

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Cameron Winnet: “It was amazing, a dream come true and everything I’d worked for since I was a little kid with a dream. It was amazing to be able to sing the national anthem in front of my family, too.

“I was thinking about all the sacrifices my parents made, taking me to sessions – and all the coaches who had helped me get to that point. My family were right in front of me, too; it was quite tough. A nice moment.

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Alex Mann: “That’s what we work for, really; all those days that are dark days or good days. Standing there was a bit surreal, but we knew we had a job to do and if I got a chance I would try and take it.

“I was just soaking it all in, really. It was probably the best day in the world. Friends and family in the stands. Just ready for it.”

Has it always been rugby for you?

CM: “I played a lot of football, as well (growing up). My parents would take me to Porth and I’d go from one football session to a rugby one, and on a Sunday I’d played a football game followed by a rugby match. I’m really appreciative of my parents for taking me.

AM: “Before deciding to return to rugby at the age of 14, I played football and was part of Cardiff City’s academy as a centre-back.

He [Cameron] wouldn’t want to come up against me so we’d better let him off. You can see in Cam’s game his footballing skills and I try to bring in footwork and stuff, so yeah I think it has helped me a lot with the football part of it.

” I had a nasty break in my elbow and my shoulder, when I first started playing rugby. My friend was playing football, so I thought I’d give that a go.

“I started with Cwmbach, got scouted, and then went straight into the academy. I had five years in football and played at Cardiff City.

“I think the professional set-up they had helped me a lot from a young age. Then I started playing rugby again in school and I knew straight away that was for the game for me. It just came naturally, with the way I am, and the way I was playing.

Alex, what was it like coming off the bench and scoring your first international try at the home of Welsh rugby?

“I was just thinking about personal stuff, trying to bring the energy, lift the boys and make an impact when I went on; just being ready for if I got an opportunity to go on.

“To be fair to the boys they did all the hard work for my try and I was the lucky one with the ball.

“It was like a nanosecond of silence and then I felt Domaz (Corey Domachowski) jump on me so I’ve had a sore back afterwards. The stadium was crazy.

“I knew my mates were close on the left-hand side as well, so I saw the videos after, but I couldn’t believe it, and I knew we still had a job to do to win the game. It was on to the next thing then really.

Listen to the full Q&A in this week’s Welsh Rugby Union Podcast here.

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Q&A: Cameron Winnett and Alex Mann