New Orleans Gold Rugby Club announced the signing of Matt Hughston. New Orleans Gold is one of the franchises that will compete in the inaugural Major League Rugby season that begins April 2018. He plays center, although he has also played flanker.
Matt is from Charlotte, North Carolina and graduated from Providence High School in 2008. While in high school, he played one year of rugby locally in 2007. After graduation, he attended East Carolina University between 2008-2012, graduating with a B.S. in Hospitality Management. While there, he played rugby and was President of the Club.
In 2008, Matt joined the Charlotte Rugby Club to play rugby 7s, and he has been involved since then. In 2015 Charlotte Rugby Club won their first South 7s Championship and played in USA Rugby Club 7s Nationals.
Matt Hughston & Collegiate Rugby
In 2009, Matt was selected to the USA Men’s Under 20s national team for the IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy in Nairobi, Kenya.
Other collegiate rugby honors included being a two time Collegiate All-American, selection to the Collegiate All-South XVs and an award as U19 MVP for the Eastern Seaboard.
USA Rugby South Panthers
Matt Hughston has also been a member of the USA Rugby South Panthers since 2013 and was captain in 2014 and 2015. Although Matt played with the team in 2013, he was not with the team for the NACRA final, when the team won 26-18 over Trinidad and Tobago. The team advanced to the Rugby Americas North Championship final the following year, where they lost to Guyana 30-27 in double overtime. In 2015, the team did not advance beyond pool play with losses to Mexico and the Cayman Islands. In 2016, the team could not participate in the RAN Championship, as it was an Olympic Qualifying year, however, in 2017 the Panthers won the championship 23-19 over Guyana.
National Rugby 15s
Matt was invited in 2015 to the Life ODA (Olympic Development Academy) and played with the Stars XV in a match against Life. He was also to the Olympic Training Center Selection Camp for the Eagles XV.
Matt’s rugby 15s accomplishments were recognized by PRO Rugby in 2016, where he signed a professional rugby contract and played flanker with the Ohio Aviators. Despite having his season cut short with a broken jaw in the 9th week of the season against the San Diego Breakers, he was voted the top flanker in the League.
Rugby Wrap Up profiled his time with the Ohio Aviators where Hughston commented that “One of the greatest things about rugby is it takes you to so many new places, introducing you to new teammates and new experiences. Wherever you go you know the rugby community will take care of you. Being given this opportunity in PRO Rugby has given me the confidence that I can play at the highest level for the rest of my career, so I will be grateful wherever I play.”
Matt will play with his second professional team, as the New Orleans Gold Rugby Club announced his signing. The team has begun to prepare for the inaugural Major League Rugby season that will begin in April 2018.
Matt Hughston has been also been an outstanding rugby sevens player. In rugby sevens, he has played in many tournaments as a hooker, prop, and center. As a result of his accomplishments, he has received national team recognition and was selected to the USA Falcons and invited to the Eagles 7s camp. Below is a summary of many events and teams where he was a member.
- Las Vegas Invitational: 2012 USA South 7s, 2013 Atlantis, 2014 Arizona ODA, 2015-2017 Atlantis
- Elite City 7s: 2014 All-Tournament First Team honors – Captain of Washington DC team
- Rugbytown 7s: 2014, 2015, 2017 Negro y Azul
- Stars 7s & 15s – 2014 Captain of the Central Coast 7s team in Australia and 15s touring squad
- Halloween 7s: 2015 Ohio All-Stars
- USA South Men’s Sevens – multiple tours
- MARFU 7s All-Star Territorial Team
- USA Falcons 2017 – South America Tour: Punta del Este Sevens & Seven Viña Squads; Viña del Mar 7s; & Punta del Este 7s
- Team USA Rugby 7s – Olympic Training Center 2016
- USA Men’s Eagles 7s High-Performance camp under Mike Friday 2017
Matt Hughston has also been involved with coaching rugby with Tiger Rugby in North Carolina. This was the result of developing a relationship with Tiger Rugby through his time with the Ohio Aviators and through competing against them in the past.
Matt Hughston & New Orleans Gold
The New Orleans Gold has made a tremendous addition to their team. Matt Hughston is an experienced center with the capability of playing flanker. He has been part of the Eagles and Eagles 7s National Player Pool and has achieved a great deal during his rugby career.
Rugby is a balancing act, yet he has managed to juggle career responsibilities with rugby. He also is blessed with a supportive wife, Hannah.
New Orleans Gold Rugby Club
- Nate Osborne – Head Coach
- Todd Fitzgerald – Assistant Head Coach and Assistant General Manager
- Sebastián Kalm – Backrow
- Moni Tongauiha – Center
- Hubert Buydens – Loosehead prop
- Eric Howard – Hooker
- Ratu Peceli Rinakama – Flyhalf, Scrum-half, Wing, Fullback
- Bobby Johns – Center, Flyhalf, Scrumhalf
- Matt Hughston – Center, Flanker
- Jojo Tikoisuva – Wing
- Tim Falcon – Owner
- JP Eloff – Flyhalf, Center, Fullback
- Ryan Fitzgerald – General Manager
- Holden Youngert – Scrum-half
- Michael Baska – Fullback
- Derrek Van Klein – Loosehead Prop
- Myles McQuone – Lock