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Gloucester boss George Skivington reveals timeline surrounding Louis Rees-Zammit’s departure to the NFL

Gloucester Director of Rugby George Skivington has today revealed how quickly Louis Rees-Zammit’s move to the NFL came about, saying it’s been a ‘chaotic 24-hours’ at the club.

Gloucester Director of Rugby George Skivington has today revealed how quickly Louis Rees-Zammit’s move to the NFL came about, saying it’s been a ‘chaotic 24-hours’ at the club.

Yesterday, it was announced Welsh and British and Irish Lion international Louis Rees-Zammit would leave the club with immediate effect to pursue an opportunity in the NFL. The news of course blindsided many fans, however Skivington told members of the media rumours began circling in the summer.

“It’s pretty much been a chaotic 24-hours, I’m still digesting it really,” he said.

“Zam has always had this aspiration to go to the NFL. There were rumour’s in the summer, which I did talk to him about and he said ‘if I ever get the opportunity, I’d like to go’, but that’s as far as it went as far as I was concerned”.

He also detailed just how quickly events took place, with Rees-Zammit accepting the offer just this week

“On Monday he came in saying he’s got the opportunity, and to be honest, once I’ve had my discussions it then goes above my head and goes into contracts and releases and all that sort of stuff.”

Rees-Zammit has been one of Gloucester stand-out performers in recent seasons, and his domestic form has since transformed into international honours.

He made his Wales debut in 2021, and has since gone onto become an integral part of the Welsh side now under Warren Gatland. He was a part of Gatland’s squad for the World Cup last Autumn, and was also expected to be named in the squad for the Six Nations; however he will now instead be in Florida as part of the NFL’s International Performance Pathway (IPP).

During the press conference, Skivington spoke about the ‘surreal call’ he had to make to Warren Gatland.

“I’ve known Warren a long time, but I gave him a call because it happened so quick, it was happening thick and fast,” he said.

“When I got told this is actually happening, I got straight on the phone to Warren. He was pretty close to getting his team out and I was conscious of that so I just said ‘you need to know I’ve just been told this is actually happening and from your point of view I appreciate it’s going to change your squad dynamic’ so obviously they delayed their things.”

“Obviously Warren was as shocked as the rest of us but again you’ve just got to make your adjustments and make a plan.”

Where does Rees-Zammit’s move leave Wales ahead of the Six Nations?

Whilst on paper, losing a player of Rees-Zammit’s quality might look hard to replace, Warren Gatland still has plenty of impressive backs at his disposal.

Josh Adams and Rio Dyer will likely occupy the 11 and 14 shirts this Six Nations in his absence, however Mason Grady will also be competing for a spot on the wings. Inside them, players such as George North and Nick Tompkins will also provide plenty of skill.

Wales are also gifted with young talent in the pack, and no more so than 21-year-old skipped Dafydd Jenkins. Jenkins has been very impressive as Exeter Chiefs captain this season, and Wales fans should be licking their lips at the prospect of him leading out Gatland’s side this Six Nations.