Christian Scotland-Williamson leaves Worcester to pursue NFL career

Christian Scotland-Williamson in action for Worcester Warriors. David Davies/PA Images via Getty Images

Worcester Warriors lock Christian Scotland-Williamson will be leaving rugby to pursue an American Football career in the U.S., the club has confirmed.

The Aviva Premiership outfit announced Thursday that Scotland-Williamson, 24, will be heading to Florida to work closely with the NFL in the coming months and is aiming to earn a spot on a team's roster ahead of the 2018 season.

Standing at 6ft 9, the towering second-rower has made 23 appearances for the Warriors since making his debut in 2014, but has seen his opportunities at Sixways Stadium limited by a number of injuries.

"I'd like to thank everyone at Sixways for all the support over the years," Scotland-Williamson said. "I appreciate everything they have done for me -- giving me the opportunity to play professional rugby, playing against some of the top players in the world, and also helping me recover from injuries in what was a tough time for me.

"This a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me and one that I simply can't turn down. I'm incredibly excited about testing myself and trying to get on the team roster at an NFL club."

Director of rugby Alan Solomons added: "While it's disappointing to lose a player of Christian's talent, we understand this is a lifelong dream of his to play American Football."

Scotland-Williamson is not the first rugby player to try his hand at breaking into the tough world of the NFL, with former England Sevens star Alex Gray currently on the books at the Atlanta Falcons.

One potential avenue for the young lock is the NFL's International Player Pathway programme -- entering its second year -- which helped a group of four overseas players, including Gray, enter the league by granting them places on teams' practice squads.

Worcester have wasted no time in drafting in a replacement for Scotland-Williamson, with the club also announcing the arrival of Anton Bresler, 29, from Edinburgh Rugby.

Bresler, who has previously worked with Solomons at Edinburgh, said: "I'm genuinely excited at the prospect of playing Aviva Premiership rugby and can't wait to get out on the field to show what I can do.

"Having played alongside Nick Schonert before, he told me about how great the atmosphere and facilities were at Sixways and that helped me make my decision in making the move."