Louis Rees-Zammit: Former Wales rugby star says he is ‘loving’ NFL training camp

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Louis Rees-Zammit said he is “loving” the “great” experience of trying to break into the NFL after his switch from rugby union.

The 23-year-old has joined the NFL’s international player pathway (IPP) with the aim of securing a place on an American football team in 2024.

Rees-Zammit has moved to Florida and started the 10-week programme.

“My pursuit to be on the NFL is alive and I am excited to see what the next 10 weeks holds,” he told Scrum V.

The Wales and Gloucester wing shocked the rugby world in January when he announced he would leave rugby union with immediate effect to pursue a career in the NFL.

The intense training programme has started and Rees-Zammit is hoping to impress NFL scouts in March, with the former British and Irish Lion saying he has “10 weeks of pure, intense training” to see if his “dream can become a reality”.

Rees-Zammit has been training as a wide receiver but has also been doing some drills as a running back.

“You basically come here and work the game of football on and off the field, in the classroom and training six days a week,” said Rees-Zammit, who backed the Kansas City Chiefs to win the Super Bowl against the San Francisco 49ers.

“You have 10 weeks to learn the game and at the end you have a pro day.

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“You have to try to impress the scouts and it is down to the teams to decide whether you are good enough.”

Rees-Zammit says it was his “hardest decision” to make the transition but it was the right time for him.

“It was always something I wanted to do, since a young age, and I thought it was the right decision now,” he said.

“I sat down with my family and went through everything and came to the decision I wanted to do it when I was still young.

“If it works out, I have 10 years to try to play the sport I have loved growing up watching or I can come back to rugby and play the sport I love playing.

“I am excited to see what happens and what the future holds and now that I am here, I am loving training.”

Rees-Zammit said he went with the blessing of Wales head coach Warren Gatland.

“Gats was unbelievable with me,” said Rees-Zammit.

“I explained the scenario and situation for me and he was very supportive.

“He let me know and asked if it did not work what I would be doing and I said obviously I would be coming back to rugby.”

Rees-Zammit said it was a strange experience watching the Six Nations match where England defeated Wales 16-14 at Twickenham.

“I was jealous of the boys and it was in my mind that I was pretty gutted I did not play,” said Rees-Zammit.

“The boys put a shift in and just managed to lose, which was tough.”

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