Winnett made his debut in the 2024 Six Nations for Wales

Name Cameron Winnett Age 21 (7 Jan 2003) Born Llantrisant, Wales Position Full-back Club Cardiff Country Wales

When did you first play rugby?

I was five years old and my father took me down to Wattstown, my local team. He’s always told me that I used to run behind the defensive line asking for the ball but I was in front of my team-mates so I couldn’t get it!

What attracted you to the sport? 

I think it was just having my ball in my hands and being able to score tries.

Did you play other sports? 

Football was one of my favourite sports as well to be honest. I was a centre attacking mid or  striker. It was very tight between rugby and football but I had to decide and rugby was what I enjoyed most in the end.

Positions played? 

I was in the forwards at a young age as I really enjoyed tackling once contact started and then I moved to full-back when I started to get taller and thin out.

When did rep rugby start? 

I started at Wattstown then moved to Treorchy at U9s and really kicked on around that age and that’s when I thought I was quite good at rugby. I was playing for my district, Rhondda, at U15 then Cardiff Blues U16s and U18s.

Representing the country for the first time? 

The first time was U20s for me as I missed out on U18s due to Covid unfortunately. It was a very proud moment for me and my family out in Ireland against a very good Irish team. I wasn’t nervous but the first time putting that shirt on was what I’d dreamt of as a little kid.

Any childhood heroes? Football-wise it was Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres, I loved them growing up as I’m a Liverpool supporter. In rugby, Leigh Halfpenny and Liam Williams from a Welsh perspective but I always loved watching Willie le Roux too.

Sum up your playing style…

As it was when I was a young kid! Dangerous with the ball in hand and creating stuff for others.

Your strengths? 

My footwork and ability to find space and create it for others. I’m a good footballer as well, with grubbers and little kicks.

Any work-ons? 

Definitely they are probably in defence. I’m still young but I’ve got to learn. The high ball stuff and defence stuff. The basics.

Biggest influence on your career so far? 

Dan Fish. Being in the academy with him, he’s taught me a lot. Being in the same position, he’s given me loads of tips and been really good with me at a young age and helped me kick on a bit. It was not too long ago, his best advice was just doing the basics and the rest will come, the exciting stuff off will come off those

How have you found the pro environment?

I’d been in and out with the seniors when I was in the academy and I always found it comfortable and welcoming, the coaches were great with me.

Pro debut? 

It was definitely a lot. Very physical and a lot faster than what I was used to. At the time, everyone was stuck out in South Africa, so the build-up was really fun for that game against Harlequins.

Future goals? 

The biggest one is to play for my country but for now it’s just getting as many minutes as I can with Cardiff.

RW Verdict:

Winnett first came to the attention with some eye-catching displays for Wales U20 and has fast become a regular fixture in the Cardiff senior team. With Leigh Halfpenny’s recent retirement and Liam Williams’s move to Japan, the full-back spot is up for grabs.

This article first appeared in the March 2024 edition of Rugby World

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