Louis Rees-Zammit Wales

NANTES, FRANCE - OCTOBER 07: Louis Rees-Zammit of Wales celebrates after the Rugby World Cup France 2023 match between Wales and Georgia at Stade de la Beaujoire on October 07, 2023 in Nantes, France. (Photo by Paul Harding/Getty Images)

Louis Rees-Zammit Quits Wales, Gloucester And Rugby For NFL

By Paul Jones

Wales wing Louis Rees-Zammit has been sensationally released by his club Gloucester with immediate effect so he can “pursue his dream” of a career in American football.

The Premiership club made the stunning announcement as Wales head coach Warren Gatland prepared to unveil his squad for the Guinness Six Nations Championship.

Gloucester said: “Gloucester Rugby have agreed to release winger Louis Rees-Zammit with immediate effect to enable the 22-year-old to pursue his dream of playing in the National Football League.

“The Welsh international has accepted an invitation to join the NFL International Player Pathway, which provides elite athletes from around the world with an opportunity to earn a place on an NFL roster.”

Rees-Zammit is one of the hottest properties in world rugby, excelling for Gloucester, Wales and the British and Irish Lions through his try-scoring prowess and thrilling attacking ability.

The winger, who has been capped 32 times for Wales, said: “Gloucester 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.

“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 team-mates, to George Skivington and Alex Brown, thank you for giving me such special memories and for supporting this next stage of my career.

“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.”

Rees-Zammit will leave the UK for Florida this week to begin the IPP programme.

The news completely overshadowed Wales boss Warren Gatland (below) naming five uncapped players in his squad for the Guinness Six Nations Championship.

Cardiff quartet Cameron Winnett, Evan Lloyd, Alex Mann and Mackenzie Martin, plus Bath prop Archie Griffin, have all been included among a 34-strong group, with Wales kicking off their campaign against Scotland on February 3.

Exeter’s 21-year-old lock Dafydd Jenkins, meanwhile, has been appointed as captain with World Cup skipper Jac Morgan likely to miss the whole tournament after undergoing knee surgery, and there is a recall for Cardiff flanker James Botham, grandson of cricket great Ian Botham.

Other injury absentees include number eight Taulupe Faletau, hooker Dewi Lake and Exeter forward Christ Tshiunza.

And there are no places for experienced campaigners such as props Tomas Francis and Dillon Lewis.

Wales squad for the Guinness Six Nations Championship.

Backs: G Davies (Scarlets), Tomos Williams (Cardiff), K Hardy (Scarlets), S Costelow (Scarlets), I Lloyd (Scarlets), C Evans (Dragons), N Tompkins (Saracens), O Watkin (Ospreys), G North (Ospreys), M Grady (Cardiff), J Roberts (Scarlets), J Adams (Cardiff), R Dyer (Dragons), C Winnett (Cardiff), T Rogers (Scarlets).

Forwards: G Thomas (Ospreys), C Domachowski (Cardiff), K Mathias (Scarlets), R Elias (Scarlets), E Dee (Dragons), E Lloyd (Cardiff), K Assiratti (Cardiff), A Griffin (Bath), L Brown (Dragons), W Rowlands (Racing 92), A Beard (Ospreys), D Jenkins (Exeter, capt), Teddy Williams (Cardiff), A Wainwright (Dragons), T Reffell (Leicester), A Mann (Cardiff), J Botham (Cardiff), M Martin (Cardiff), T Basham (Dragons).


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