Rugby fans applaud Wales star for ‘classy’ gesture to his ex-teacher after debut

As if Christ Tshiunza hadn't already won over enough fans for his on-field potential, Wales ' latest breakthrough star is proving to be a wonder off the park as well.

That's after the Exeter Chiefs lock shared footage of an intimate moment at the Principality Stadium following his debut off the bench during Sunday's hard-fought 38-23 victory over Fiji.

Tshiunza, 19, is the latest talent to earn honours for Wales having passed through the corridors of Whitchurch High School in Cardiff, where Steve Williams has helped nurture an impressive crop of elite athletes.

Williams was a P.E. teacher at Whitchurch when future stars like Gareth Bale, Geraint Thomas and Sam Warburton studied there, and he remains involved with the school's rugby programme, of which Tshiunza is a graduate.

And it says a lot of Tshiunza's reverence for his former mentor that he saw fit to donate his first senior Wales jersey to one of his earliest teachers in the sport.

The fans had long vacated the Principality when Tshiunza and his loved ones took the time to commemorate his first cap, with Williams among the honoured guests.

And the teenager embraced his former teacher, greeting him with respect before he said: "The man himself."

Debuting for one's country is among the most significant highlights a player can make in their sporting career, but Tshiunza was only too happy to part with his jersey as he told Williams: “I want you to have this.”

The Whitchurch stalwart checks his former charge is certain before Tshiunza assures him he is, ushering in a chorus of adoring sighs from those other witnesses to the act.

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Supporters on social media also praised the gesture as one called it a "touch of class" alongside a Welsh flag and clapping hands emoji.

Another praised: "That is fantastic. Well done young man. Even Steve nearly had a tear in his eye there."

The Congo-born teenager—who stands 6'6" and weighs in excess of 17 stone—had endless possibilities ahead of him after excelling in other sports, while he also played in a friendly for England's under-20s earlier this year.

Head coach Wayne Pivac will be grateful it was his side who eventually secured the player's loyalties, with Tshiunza touted to star for Wales over the next decade or more.

And it will be with large thanks to Williams if he does, having long gone the extra mile for his Whitchurch students in pursuit of athletic excellence.

Wales Online provided quotes from former Wales and British and Irish Lions captain Warburton, who commented on the touching moment and recounted his extra training with the school's rugby director.

“Steve was great with me, doing breakdown drills with me on my own after school, which is why I think I had a head start at the breakdown over most teenagers," said the ex-Cardiff flanker.

“As an ex-player, he passed on plenty of wisdom. You could sense his competitiveness. He had a positive effect on all the players, especially me, because he was a former openside flanker.

“I know he has really guided Christ, who is a very respectful kid and thinks the world of Steve.”

After debuting against Fiji, there's an outside chance Tshiunza could earn a maiden Test start against Australia on Saturday after Pivac confirmed lock Will Rowlands is a doubt due to a head injury.

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