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'It's going to set off a chain reaction': Rees-Zammit's NFL move

By Josh Raisey
Louis Rees-Zammit of Wales celebrates victory at the final whistle following the Rugby World Cup France 2023 match between Wales and Fiji at Nouveau Stade de Bordeaux on September 10, 2023 in Bordeaux, France. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Louis Rees-Zammit’s well-renowned move to the NFL’s International Player Pathway in January will set off a “chain reaction”, according to South Africa fly-half Handre Pollard, who says such a move is not for him.

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The former Gloucester and Wales winger confirmed his move to the IPP in January, a matter of minutes before Warren Gatland was set to name his Wales squad for the Guinness Six Nations.

Other players have pursued this path before, but the 23-year-old is undoubtedly the most high-profile player to do so. As a result, the double World Cup winning Springbok thinks other rugby players will follow the Welshman’s route.

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Rees-Zammit was not the only former rugby player to make this move last month, as he has also been joined by former Northampton Saints and England U20 back Harry Mallinder, who is trying out as a kicker or punter.

Mallinder’s role would be the one that would suit Pollard, who kicked the match-winning penalty in the World Cup semi-final against England last year before kicking all twelve points the week later against the All Blacks in the final.

However, speaking to Jim Hamilton on RugbyPass TV’s The Big Jim Show, the 29-year-old said a move to the NFL does not appeal to him, saying “rugby’s too fun”.

“I enjoy the NFL, I watch quite a bit, but I’ve never thought of that,” Pollard said when asked about trying out to become an NFL player.

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“But for a guy like [Rees-Zammit] to leave, it’s big. I think it’s going to set off a chain reaction with a couple of guys.

“RG Snyman as a tight end, imagine that? If someone wants to go and try it, go for it, enjoy it, but I don’t think it’s not for me.

When asked whether he would be interested in becoming a kicker, following in the footsteps of fellow Springbok Naas Botha, Pollard said: “I get that, that’s appealing, but rugby’s too fun. I enjoy it. Even though it’s cold in the winter down here in Leicester, running out at Welford Road with your guys together, blood, sweat and tears, I just love that and there’s nothing else for me to be honest.”

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Comments

4 Comments
b
buzz 125 days ago

I can't see it myself.

To make it as an outsider in the NFL you either need to be a physical freak - Jordan Mailata, Christian Okoye etc or you need some college experience.

Asking Zammit to play in the NFL after the IPP would be like bringing Tyreek Hill over to the UK for a 10 week rugby training camp then asking him to play in the 6N right after.

C
Chris 126 days ago

I doubt RZ will make it in NFL
He is on a steep learning curve and will get few opportunities

N
Neale 126 days ago

Most Brits will get so bored by the NFL regime they’ll end up pleading for a flight home.

P
Paul 126 days ago

So… Handre can see the draw to NFL (the money), but it wouldn’t appeal to him. I am pretty sure this is the same answer that most pro rugby players would give. Rees-Zammit may well end up coming back to Wales a multi millionaire without ever catching a ball, but I am not sure that he will be happy with his decision. American Football is so specialised and is very difficult for a player to be successful even if they have been playing since they were 6. It’s almost impossible aged 22.

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