Today's rugby news as Louis Rees-Zammit in Texas with Patrick Mahomes and move 'all over' after Gatland intervention

Wales head coach Warren Gatland (right) -Credit:Huw Evans Picture Agency Ltd
Wales head coach Warren Gatland (right) -Credit:Huw Evans Picture Agency Ltd

Here are your rugby headlines for Thursday, April 25.

LRZ in Texas with Patrick Mahomes

Louis Rees-Zammit's deal with the Kansas City Chiefs is no PR gimmick, the head of the NFL's International Player Pathway has insisted.

Rees-Zammit was picked up by the Super Bowl Champions after impressing during his stint with the IPP Program and is bidding to make the playing roster next season.

And IPP chief James Cook has revealed that Rees-Zammit is currently in Texas with NFL great Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs "actively recruited" the former Wales wing.

SIGN UP: Get the latest Welsh rugby news sent straight to your inbox for free with our daily newsletter

“As we speak Louis is in Texas catching balls with Patrick Mahomes,” he told Planet Rugby. “No amount of marketing can make that happen.

“The team that just won back-to-back Super Bowls not only signed him, they actively recruited him. The head coach was calling his phone every day, the general manager was calling his phone every day. You can’t buy that.

“There’s nothing the NFL can do to make that happen. Absolutely nothing. I can’t get Andy Reed to call anyone. Neither can any of the people above me in our business.

“I firmly believe Kansas brought him with the intent of him at some point being a contributing player for them. They didn’t bring him in with the idea that he’s going to be a marketing guy and we’ll just kind of sit him on the practice squad. They’ve got too many good players and they win too many matches for them to think that way.”

When asked about his realistic chances of making the starting squad, Cook said: “As much as it’s great Louis has signed and we’re very excited about it and it’s a necessary first step, our goal this whole time has been for Louis to be a starting player for the Kansas City Chiefs and to go and score touchdowns on Sundays. That hasn’t happened yet.

“But I think his age is in his favour. He also displays a level of athleticism you don’t often find anywhere in the world. On top of that, he works hard and is a great person who has his priorities straight. So I feel very optimistic.”

Battle for 'bragging rights' for Plumtrees

Scarlets' Taine Plumtree has said there is no hostility ahead of facing his father's Sharks team this weekend, but bragging rights are indeed on the line.

Wales international Plumtree qualifies for Warren Gatland's side due to being born in Swansea, owing to his father John playing for the St Helen's side in 2000.

Plumtree made his debut for Wales last year and, after months out, will face his old man's side in what is sure to be an intriguing clash on Friday evening at Parc y Scarlets.

“There’s been a little bit of chat between me and dad over the last couple of weeks in the lead-up to it, no doubt,” Taine told the URC media team.

“I stayed at their hotel on Sunday just because I haven’t seen them since September and it was really good catching up. It is going to be quite a cool occasion for us. It will be a nice family affair with him upstairs and me down on the pitch.

“There’s no hostility whatsoever. It’s more a bit of a joke between us now. I guess there’s a bit of bragging rights at the dinner table. If I am able to get up, I might finally get the head of the table at dinner when I am back in New Zealand!"

Taine added that he's "always looked up to" his father John, who himself admitted that he wanted his son to play for the South African side so they could work together.

“I wanted him to come to the Sharks, but as soon as Warren Gatland got involved, it was all over, he was heading for Wales,” said the former All Blacks assistant coach.

“I am really proud of him. He is loving it at the Scarlets. He loves the Welsh people and he is happy. So if he’s happy, I’m happy.”

Varsity winners crowned

Swansea University claimed the varsity bragging rights after defeating their Cardiff counterparts at the Stadium.

Thousands of students descended on Swansea for the annual event, with more than 50 sporting events taking place throughout the day.

The rugby matches between the men's and the women's teams are always the pinnacle of the date and the hosts made home advantage count, beating their rivals 44-28 in SA1.

In the women's it was a rout for the visitors, who emerged victors by a 12-71 scoreline.

Halfpenny's message

Leigh Halfpenny posted on Instagram that it was "good to be back on the grass with the boys" as he makes his way back from injury.

The Wales legend has been on the sidelines for the past two and a half months following a knock he received in a pre-season friendly with Munster in February.

Halfpenny tore his pectoral muscle and required surgery and was given a timescale of four months to return to the fray. But he's now back in training and seemingly raring to go. The Crusaders posted yesterday: Great to see Leigh on the grass."