Quite unlike any rugby transfer story of the past decade, Welsh star Louis Rees-Zammit’s move away from rugby to the NFL garnered headlines worldwide on January 16th.
Just a week prior, LRZ was rumoured to be departing his club Gloucester for a big money deal in French or Japanese Rugby, so when it was announced he would be leaving the sport, it left many flabbergasted.
The timing of his move, just two weeks out from the 2024 Guinness Six Nations and with a Lions tour next year, was also a point of discussion for many in the rugby world.
Among those taken aback by the move was Welsh head coach Warren Gatland, who, it would appear, found out about his 22-year-old star’s plans at the same time as the rest of the world.
Despite the shock, LRZ revealed that his former coach was highly supportive of his ambitions.
“Gats was unbelievable with me to be honest,” Rees-Zammit said, “I basically explained the situation to him and scenario and he was all for it and was very supportive of me.”
Looking to the future, the flying winger left the door open for a return to the rugby.
“He let me know, if this doesn’t work out, you what would I be doing and obviously I would be coming back to rugby if this doesn’t work out.
“It was a great call and he is very supportive of my decision.”
“Gats was unbelievable with me” @LouisReesZammit reflects on his call to Warren Gatland when he decided to swap rugby for NFL
— BBC ScrumV (@BBCScrumV) February 11, 2024