Meet Alex Cuthbert - A very busy man both on and off the field

Meet Alex Cuthbert - A very busy man both on and off the field

It was understandably frustrating for Alex Cuthbert to be out of action for a year, but he did at least have plenty to keep him occupied off the field.

Aside from his rehabilitation from foot and calf injuries, the Ospreys and Wales winger was also working on his coaching qualifications and figuring regularly as a TV pundit.

Then there are his business interests.

He has the Sportin Wales company with his former team-mate and close friend Gareth Anscombe, a project which produces a magazine and a podcast.

In addition, you have the equestrian enterprises.

Horses have long been a part of his life. Raised in rural Gloucestershire, he was a regular attendee at the annual Cheltenham Festival, while he was a competitive show jumper as a youngster.

Today, he is the co-owner of a racehorse called Cottonvale and has now launched a breeding venture with England forward Jonny Hill, a former teammate at Exeter.

On top of all that, the 33-year-old has a young family, plus he’s now back playing rugby again.

Fully recovered from his injuries, he has two games under his belt and is looking forward to Friday’s big BKT URC showdown with Munster in Swansea.

Having returned to the pitch, how does he now reflect on his 12 months on the sidelines?

“It was a frustrating time, but I managed to do a lot of other things in that period whether it was media, which I enjoyed a lot, or other off-field activities. So I have been busy.

“I was just trying to get out and about and have a feel for what kind of things I enjoy and take my mind off the injuries.

“With rugby nowadays, you definitely do need to plan and I’ve been planning for years in terms of trying to figure out things I like or want to do and just trying to dip my toe into as much as possible.

“Then it will come to a point where I decide what I want to do after I do finish playing rugby. But, at the moment, I want to play as long as I can. I feel good and I am enjoying it.”

In terms of the horse-breeding venture, he says: “It’s good fun. We’ve got two foals. It’s exciting and I’m looking forward to it.”

One of his other business interests - Sportin Wales - has seen him continue his long partnership with fly-half Anscombe, who he played with at Cardiff, the Ospreys and on the international stage.

“We are close mates. Our partners are very good friends, we have got kids the same age. We actually lived with them for four or five months when we were looking for a house after coming back from Exeter.

“Gareth is a top class rugby player and a top bloke as well.”

As for coaching, Cuthbert - who will turn 34 next month - has been doing his badges, while also passing on his experience to the youngsters at his region.

“It was something I dipped my toe into to see if I enjoyed it,” he explains.

“You never know. It’s maybe something I could go into in the future.

“I’m probably the oldest by a fair bit in the Ospreys back line and do a bit of coaching without even realising it, in terms of just helping out the young backs. That has been good from my side. I am quite approachable and I enjoy it.

“They ask me about when I first started playing for Wales and some of them weren’t even at secondary school at the time! But it’s good. They are clipping at my heels. It makes me feel a bit younger and it keeps me going.”

Cuthbert finally made his return as a replacement in last month’s dramatic BKT URC victory over Ulster and then started the narrow defeat away to Edinburgh.

“It’s very good to be back,” said the 57-cap winger.

“It was by far the longest I have been out during my career.

“Physically I know I am always going to be good enough. It was more mentally for me, because I am so used to getting back from injuries quickly.

“I missed being out there with the boys, the training and the changing room environment, it was a frustrating time.

“But the last couple of months, I’ve started to feel really good, back to myself. My strength and power has come back and I’ve still got some speed.

“When you are out for that long, sometimes you can maybe lose sight of why you are coming back. But I was just really looking forward to being back with the boys and back playing again.

“I don’t think I’ve been as excited to come back and play a game as I was against Ulster. I was absolutely buzzing. I was up the walls in the house. I was doing my missus’ head in!

“So I’ve still got that hunger. Having that time out has probably given my body a bit of time to recover. I played a lot of rugby for a long period of time.

“My body feels good, I feel good mentally and I still feel as though I’ve got an awful lot to give. I am still enjoying it.

“I am back doing my main job and this is what I am 100 per cent focused on.”

He concluded: “There’s still a lot to play for this season. The boys have done unbelievably well to put us in a situation where we have knock-out rugby in Europe and a good chance within the league.

“Winning silverware is what we all strive for in club rugby and I feel like this is a great opportunity.”

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