The Gloucester speedster will not play in the Six Nations
Gloucester and Wales winger Louis Rees-Zammit has decided to step away from rugby union in order to pursue a career in the NFL.
The 22-year-old announced the shock move on social media on the day Wales’ Six Nations squad was revealed.
Read more: Wales Six Nations squad 2024
Rees-Zammit made his senior Wales debut in 2020 and has scored 14 tries in 32 appearances for his country.
Rees-Zammit joins NFL: Statement
In a statement, he described the decision to drastically alter his career path as “painstaking” but said he was “excited” to join the NFL’s international player pathway with a view to landing a contract in 2024.
“I would like to take this opportunity to announce a significant career decision that I have taken after careful consideration,” Rees-Zammit began.
“In a move that I am extremely excited about, I can confirm that I will be joining the NFL’s International Player Pathway program (IPP) in pursuit of earning a spot on an NFL roster in the United States for 2024.
“Opting to step away from international rugby on the eve of the Six Nations has been a painstaking decision, but I am extremely excited to take up a once in a lifetime opportunity to pursue a new challenge.
“My immense gratitude also goes to Gloucester Rugby – a club that is extremely close to my heart – and particularly George Skivington and Alex Brown, for allowing me to head in a different direction over the next few weeks.
“Although this decision may come as a surprise, I would like to reiterate that this does not necessarily mean I am retiring from rugby, but rather at this age and stage of my life, I am excited to explore a unique challenge that has the potential to diversify my skill set.
“My best wishes go out to Wales for the upcoming Six Nations and year ahead, while I will continue to closely follow the continued progress of Gloucester from afar.”
Rees-Zammit joined Gloucester in January 2020 and is the youngest player to feature in the Gallagher Premiership for the Cherry and Whites.
Commenting on the decision, Gloucester CEO Brown said: “We understand the size of the opportunity before Zam and his lifelong ambition to play in the NFL.
“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.
“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.”
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