Rees-Zammit quits rugby on eve of Six Nations as he chases NFL dream
2024/04/01

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Rugby supporters were stunned on Tuesday when it was announced that Louis Rees-Zammit has left Gloucester to pursue a career in the National Football League (NFL).

The Premiership club confirmed they have agreed to release wing Rees-Zammit with immediate effect to enable the 22-year-old to chase his dream in the United States.

has accepted an invitation to join the NFL International Player Pathway (IPP) which provides elite athletes with an opportunity to earn a spot on an NFL roster.

Leaves for Florida this week

The international star will leave the UK for Florida this week to begin the IPP programme, which of course rules him out of

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contention this year.

“ Rugby has been a huge part of my life. From the start at Hartpury College and my first professional rugby contract with Gloucester in 2020, to my Wales and Lions caps; the club has been central to my development as a player, and I am so grateful for their support,” he said in a statement that has stunned the rugby world.

“I will always be very proud of my time at Kingsholm and want to particularly thank the incredible fans who make the club so special. Also, to my teammates, to George Skivington and Alex Brown, thank you for giving me such special memories and for supporting this next stage of my career.

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“I have had the incredible honour of playing rugby for my country which, as a proud Welshman, I’ve never taken for granted. However, I believe that this is the right time for me to realise another professional goal of playing American football in the US. Those opportunities don’t come around very often.”

Commenting on the announcement, Gloucester chief executive officer, Alex Brown, said: “We understand the size of the opportunity before Zam and his lifelong ambition to play in the NFL.

Sad to see the wing depart

“Whilst we are naturally sad to see him leave, ultimately, we are not able to dissuade him from taking an opportunity of this magnitude with the NFL.

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“We remain very proud of the role Gloucester Rugby has played in helping to develop him into the world class player he has become, and we wish him the very best in the US. He will always be welcome at Kingsholm.”

Rees-Zammit’s final game for the Cherry and Whites came last weekend in their 21-20 Challenge Cup victory over Edinburgh, which included a stunning try from distance.

The finisher has been capped 31 times by his country and his last game for Wales came in a 29-17 loss against Argentina in the quarter-finals of the 2023 World Cup.

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