WALES winger Louis Rees-Zammit has quit rugby in a bombshell move.

The 22-year-old Gloucester winger made the announcement on the day that Wales head coach Warren Gatland announced his 34-man squad for the 2024 Six Nations Championship, which Rees-Zammit has been left out of.

Rees-Zammit has been released by his club Gloucester Rugby to pursue a ‘dream’ move to play American Football in the NFL.

He said: “Gloucester Rugby has been a huge part of my life.

“From the start at Hartpury College and my first professional rugby contract with Gloucester in 2020, to my Wales and Lions caps, the club has been central to my development as a player, and I am so grateful for their support.

“I will always be very proud of my time at Kingsholm, and want to particularly thank the incredible fans who make the club so special.

“Also, to my team-mates, to George Skivington and Alex Brown, thank you for giving me such special memories and for supporting this next stage of my career.

“I have had the incredible honour of playing rugby for my country which, as a proud Welshman, I’ve never taken for granted.

“However, I believe that this is the right time for me to realise another professional goal of playing American Football in the US. Those opportunities don’t come around very often.”

In a statement published to his social media accounts, Rees-Zammit also said: "I would like to take this opportunity to announce a significant career decision that I have taken after careful consideration. In a move that I am extremely excited about, I can confirm that I will be joining the NFL's International Player Pathway (IPP) in pursuit of earning a spot on an NFL roster in the United States for 2024.

"Opting to step away from international rugby on the eve of the Six Nations has been a painstaking decision, but I am extremely excited to take up a once in a lifetime opportunity to pursue a new challenge. 

"My immense gratitude also goes to Gloucester Rugby - a club that is extremely close to my heart - and particularly George Skivington and Alex Brown, for allowing me to head in a different direction over the next few weeks.

"Although this decision may come as a surprise, I would like to reiterate that this does not necessarily mean I am retiring from rugby, but rather at this age and stage of my life, I am excited to explore a unique challenge that has the potential to diversify my skill set.

"My best wishes go out to Wales for the upcoming Six Nations and year ahead, while I will continue to closely follow the continued progress of Gloucester from afar. 

"To all my followers, fans and family, I thank you for your support, and look forward to having your backing throughout this next chapter."

The winger has been capped 32 times for Wales and scored 14 tries for his country.

In a statement, Gloucester Rugby said: “Gloucester Rugby have agreed to release winger Louis Rees-Zammit with immediate effect to enable the 22-year-olf to pursue his dream of playing in the National Football League.

“The Welsh international has accepted an invitation to join the NFL International Player Pathway, which provides elite athletes from around the world with an opportunity to earn a place on an NFL roster.”

Rees-Zammit will now be focusing on working through the NFL International Player Pathway in Florida with the aim of securing a place on the roster of an NFL team in the next year.