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'Saw a change in him': Warren Gatland on Louis Rees-Zammit's attitude

By Josh Raisey
Wales Head Coach Warren Gatland looks on/ PA

Wales boss Warren Gatland has detailed the change in attitude he saw from his former player Louis Rees-Zammit at the World Cup last year.

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The World Cup in France turned out to be the 23-year-old’s last tournament in international rugby before making his shock switch to the NFL in January– a tournament where he registered five tries in five matches.

Joining The Rugby Pod recently, Gatland explained how he saw a change in the former winger’s dedication and commitment during the tournament, saying he hardly missed a training session as Wales made it to the quarter-finals before losing to Argentina in Marseille.

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“He’s a big loss to us because he’s a lot bigger than people think.

“He’s obviously quick, he’s powerful, he’s skilful.

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“I saw a change in him during the World Cup in terms of his attitude and his preparation and the time and effort. He hardly missed a training session whereas he was probably guilty in the past having little niggles and stuff. Whether it was a mental thing or not I’m not too sure about.

“All of a sudden he had a week or ten training sessions in a row and I made a joke ‘are you ok? Because you’ve just broken your record for the most consecutive training sessions.'”

The triple British & Irish Lions boss also shed more light on Rees-Zammit’s exit and how quickly it unfolded.

Though the Welshman is still only on the foothills of his journey in the NFL, Gatland hopes he returns to rugby union should his career not take off.

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“The thing that was frustrating for me was it just happened so quickly when we were announcing the squad and then all of a sudden he wasn’t available,” he added.

“We were running around a little bit chasing our tails. But when I thought about it and looked it, I’m going ‘he’s a young kid, he’s following a dream, something that’s a chance for him.’

“It’s fantastic that people can have an opportunity to do something different and follow their dreams. If he makes it, absolutely brilliant, and if he doesn’t, he’ll still be 25, 26, and will hopefully come back to rugby.

“It’s going to be tough for him, a real challenge trying to pick up the game and do those sorts of things.”

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