‘NFL hurts more than rugby’

‘NFL hurts more than rugby’

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Christian Wade has backed Louis Rees-Zammit to be able to forge a role as a “special teams” player in the NFL but warned that the tackles hit even harder across the pond.

Wade had a brief stint on the training roster of the Buffalo Bills, and was speaking after the sensational news that Rees-Zammit was set to be signed up by Super Bowl holders Kansas City Chiefs.

The 32-year-old Racing 92 winger – heading to Gloucester next season – speculated about some of the different kind of positions Rees-Zammit could play, suggesting he might be able to fit into a roster as a special teams player.

These players are reserved for unconventional offense or defensive plays, often when initiating or returning a kick, which can favour individuals who have a wider skillset and are not outstanding at one specific role.

“The way for him to get game time will be proving himself to special teams”, Wade said, speaking to Instant Casinos. “Everyone wants to be the star. A bit like football, no one wants to go in goal.

“It’s like that in the NFL everyone wants to be the receiver or the running back, but special teams is where you can really make your mark and earn a position to get on the field.

“Those are the positions that will work for him, or at least get him that introduction to finding which position is best for him. Special teams, playing kick-off return etc, maybe put him as a 5 to use his speed to get down the field.

“There are so many different positions for him, and ultimately the skills he needs to learn for running back will cross over into specialities. It’s a complicated game but as he trains he will see how they cross over.”

Even after signing for the Chiefs Rees-Zammit has a long way to go to make an appearance in the league, but he is likely to at least feature in pre-season fixtures and Wade has fired a warning shot of what he might have to expect when he plays.

“A hard NFL tackle hurts more than a hard rugby tackle, for sure,” Wade added. “With the pads themselves, getting hit with a pad, helmet, or grill, a kneecap, you’re not getting that in rugby. Guys are not going to dive head first at your knees.

“My biggest warning to Rees-Zammit is to learn how to protect yourself, especially on special teams, when you’re sprinting down the field. You’re usually sprinting with your head on a swivel because you have somebody else that has an assignment to stop you. They are looking to make a real shot on you.

“They also have a look-off block. You’re not looking but I’ve set you up so that it’s a shock when you do. You need to be prepared so you can win collisions.”

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