Wales star Louis Rees-Zammit quits rugby to pursue dream of becoming NFL player

Wales and Gloucester winger Louis Rees-Zammit has announced he is stepping away from rugby to "pursue his dream" of a career in American Football.

Gloucester announced on Tuesday they had released the Wales and British and Irish Lions winger - even as Wales head coach Warren Gatland prepared to unveil his squad for the Guinness Six Nations Championship.

"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 (NFL)," the club said in a statement.

"The Welsh international has accepted an invitation to join the NFL International Player Pathway (IPP) 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 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.

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