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Ex-England hopeful Harry Mallinder to join Rees-Zammit in bid to crack NFL

By Ian Cameron
Harry Mallinder runs with the ball during the England training session held at Pennyhill Park on February 7, 2018 in Bagshot, England. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Former England U20s star Harry Mallinder will join Wales winger Louis Rees-Zammit in leaving rugby union as he sets his sights on the NFL.

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Mallinder, a name familiar to rugby fans for his exploits with the Northampton Saints and the England U20s, has been identified as a candidate for the NFL’s International Player Pathway Program and will try out as a punter. Launched in 2017, this program is designed to scout elite international athletes and offer them a platform to hone their skills with the ultimate goal of securing a spot in an NFL roster.

Christian Wade and Christian Scotland-Williamson both tried to crack the NFL through the pathway program, although neither were able to secure any regular season game time over course of several seasons in the league.

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Mallinder burst onto the scene with Northampton against Bedford Blues in August 2013 and further showcased his abilities in the World Club Sevens at Twickenham and the Elite Insurance Premiership Sevens Series.

The 27-year-old’s senior rugby career saw him become a regular feature for the Saints, where he would win 82 caps over nine seasons.

Mallinder’s age-grade international rugby credentials were particularly impressive. The 6’5, 108kg utility back captained England U18 to a European crown and led England U20s to victory in the World Rugby Under 20 Championship in 2016, scoring 23 points in the final.

In 2017, Mallinder was named in the senior England tour party for a series against Argentina, but failed to be capped and never featured in senior training camp again.

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In July 2021, he moved to Japan where he joined the Black Rams.

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1 Comment
m
matt 149 days ago

This will be interesting. Don’t remember his punting ability but this is a skill which is very similar in both sports, catching a pass from the 9 and hitting a clearance kick is similar to receiving a long snap and punting. That said footballs don’t have as many sweet spots as rugby balls but if you get a hold of them to spiral further. Kickoffs would be easy for him, place kicking a bit more of a challenge though more straight on.

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