New England Free Jacks Announce Preliminary Roster for 2020

New England Free Jacks Release

Boston, MA – The New England Free Jacks today announced the preliminary roster for the inaugural 2020 season in Major League Rugby, combining a mix of premier players from global rugby hotbeds with national-level talent developed on the fields of New England’s high schools, colleges, and clubs.

The 35-Man prelude squad will report for training in December with additional players to come

  • Free Jacks are excited to welcome a host of international talent while retaining a core group of New England-developed players to compete at the highest level of North American professional rugby.
  • 21 USA-eligible players with a combined 20 All-American honors are in the mix.
  • 11 total countries are represented, with 7 international test and/or “A” level players.
  • 10 players with European, Pro14, or British and Irish Cup caps.
  • 9 Players with New Zealand Mitre-10 National Provincial experience.
  • Additional players to be added through play in the New England competitive season this fall and following the Rugby World Cup.

“We are excited for the potential of this preliminary group for our Inaugural Season in MLR,” said Free Jacks co-Founder and CEO Alex Magleby. “Our coaches have worked long hours to find players from around the globe who have demonstrated they like to work, learn, put the team first, and really want to add and be a part of the New England community.”

“It is a talented, well-rounded group who have proven they love to compete. In rugby terms there are Ranfurly shield winners, national collegiate and national club champions, All-Ireland winners, provincial and international U20 champions, High School and Ivy League champions,” said Magleby. “Almost two-thirds of this prelim group have university degrees. There are players who competed and excelled in judo, soccer, football, basketball, baseball, even props who ran track. Gaelic footballers. Competitive table tennis. Ultramarathon runners, squash, sailing, wrestling, and lacrosse players. Ice hockey, volleyball. Bowling! Love that. They just love to grind, adapt and compete, and to find a way to win.”

A number of players from the 2019 Cara Cup and exhibition season will return to the Free Jacks for the first full season in Major League Rugby, including flyhalf Tadhg Leader, loose forward Owen Hundt, wing Christian Adams, and multiple “Workhorse-of-the-Week” recipient, Jackson Thiebes. Additionally, several well-known Boston-developed players look to feature prominently, including USA Eagle prop Anthony Purpura, fullback Danny Collins, and the everlasting flanker Jon Kokinda.

“We are bringing together this group of incredibly talented and humble players from around the region, the country, and the world to ignite New England with professional rugby,” said Free Jacks head coach Josh Smith. “Our goal this offseason was to put together a complete team top to bottom leveraging the resources and quality pool we had locally. It will be very exciting to bring the new guys in to be embraced by the community and create a really dynamic competitive team environment. We can’t wait to see what they can do in 2020. We also look forward to assessing more players in the coming days through the MLR transfer process, the ARP/fall club season, and the Rugby World Cup.”

Following the finalization of the rest of the roster in the coming weeks, the players will report to preseason on December 2nd, with the 2020 Major League Rugby regular season set to kick off in February.

Please note two players of the 35 preliminary roster have been embargoed to respect current commitments and will be announced shortly.

The full roster can be found below:

Props

  • Isaac Cavu
  • Simon Courcoul
  • Tolu Fahamokioa
  • Quentin Newcomer
  • Anthony Purpura

Hookers

  • Steven Hinshaw
  • Diego Maquieira
  • Sean McNulty

Locks

  • Conor Kindregan
  • Josh Larsen
  • Ronan McCusker
  • Jackson Thiebes

Loose Forwards

  • Naulia Dawai
  • Evan Geist
  • Pago Haini
  • Owen Hundt
  • Jon Kokinda

Scrumhalves

  • Ollie Engelhart
  • John Poland
  • Erik Thompson

Flyhalves

  • Timothée Guillimin
  • Tadhg Leader

Centers

  • Ahmad Harajly
  • Peter Lupton
  • Liam Steel

Back Three

  • Christian Adams
  • Danny Collins
  • Steven Dazzo
  • Peceli Rinakama
  • Beaudein Waaka
  • Poasa Waqanibau
  • Mitch Wilson

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North American Rugby News With A USA Slant