Bok legend Naas Botha on why going to NFL from rugby is no easy touchdown

Bok legend Naas Botha on why going to NFL from rugby is no easy touchdown

Former Springbok flyhalf Naas Botha has warned against comparing rugby to the National Football League (NFL) as it is vastly different.

This comes after the shock move from Louis-Rees Zammit to end his ties with rugby for now in pursuit of his dreams of playing in the NFL. The speedster announced his decision on the eve of Wales' Six Nations squad announcement.

The Welshman who has now left his club Gloucester to take up a place in the NFL's International Player Pathway has received a lot of backlash around his decision so much so that he hit back at his critics earlier this week.

Botha is a Springbok legend who was renowned for his kicking which saw him trial for the NFL's Dallas Cowboys in 1983. The former fly-half drew from his experience and admitted whilst Rees-Zammit has the raw materials to succeed it will be challenging for the 22-year-old.

The 65-year-old also noted that the biggest difference between rugby and the NFL is that in American Football you can be tackled at any time - with or without the ball.

"He's got the foot work, he's got the skill, he's got the running skills, he's got lovely hands. He's got all the attributes to succeed, but this is where we're making a big mistake trying to compare rugby to American football," Botha told

"I arrived at the training camp, and they cut 11 guys on the first day because they were not 100% ready to start practising the next day. Somewhere along the line the Americans are [also] going to tell him, 'you need to put on a couple of pounds'.

"The difference is and see that's the thing what people sometimes must realise in rugby you get tackled when you have the ball. OK, so you prepare yourself for a big hit in American football, you get hit without the ball."

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