The New Orleans Gold Rugby Club signed Holden Yungert to a two-year contract extension through the 2021 Major League Rugby season. The 26-year-old scrumhalf, 5’10”, 185 pounds and is from Petaluma, California.
Holden played youth soccer and began playing rugby his freshman year at Petaluma High School. He also played for the North Bay Rugby Club Wildcats and the Marin Highlanders Rugby Youth team.
After graduating high school, he went to Saint Mary’s College of California from 2012 to 2017, graduating with a Bachelor’s of Arts Degree in Environmental Studies. While there, he played D1A College Rugby with the team advancing to the Championship Finals against Life University all five years he was there. St. Mary’s won three Championships in 2014, 2015 and 2017 and lost in 2013 and 2016. Yungert missed the 2016 Championship, however with an injury. In 2017 he was named MVP of the tournament.
John Jackson of the Argus-Courier, discussed his selection to the All-Conference team indicating that “An injury kept Yungert off the pitch for the second half of the 2016 season, but the senior from Petaluma made up for lost time during the 2017 campaign. A scrum-half with the mentality of a forward, Yungert consistently provided clean ball to the backs, and also demanded organization around the breakdown.”
In 2017 he was also honored as a first-team Collegiate All-American and was selected as D1A California Player of the Month (February). Saint Mary’s Head Coach Tim O’Brien commented on Yungert saying “He’s a superb communicator, distributor, and playmaker for the squad. Most significant though is Holden’s defense, which – based on productivity – has raised more than a few eyebrows.”
In the article, Alex Solomon noted that while playing rugby that Yungert also holds a 3.8 GPA while studying Environmental Studies. O’Brien then added that “The sky’s the limit for Holden on and off the field.”
Saint Mary’s also traveled to play rugby in Ireland and Scotland in 2017. It was a tour that will provide lasting memories for the participants.
Yungert also played at the USA Rugby Collegiate 7s Nationals in 2013 through 2017. The team advanced to the Quarterfinals the first three years, before winning the 2016 National 7s Championship 19-12 over Arizona State. In 2017, the team lost in the final to Lindenwood University.
In 2017, Saint Mary’s also played in the Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship. The team went undefeated in pool play and then lost to Life University 7-5 in the Quarterfinals. Yungert scored a try to account for all the Gaels’ points.
Yungert then traveled to Canberra, Australia for Summer 2017. He and five team-mates along with Cal Poly prop Connor Cudeback, trained and played with the Easts Rugby Club Canberra first-grade side. They also worked with coaches and players from the Brumbies, a Super Rugby team.
On September 16, 2017, Yungert played for the USA Collegiate All-Americans who lost a close match 20-18 against Oxford University. The match was played at Talen Energy Stadium in Chester, PA as a prelude to the Aviva Premiership match between the Newcastle Falcons and the Saracens.
He then was selected to play for the USA Rugby Selects in the Americas Pacific Challenge in Montevideo, Uruguay. The team finished second in the tournament losing their first match to Samoa A and winning against Uruguay A and Canada A. During 2018 he also played in the Americas Pacific Challenge.
Holden sparked NOLA Gold during the 2018 and 2019 MLR seasons and the feisty halfback will continue to be a key contributor through 2021.
During Summer 2019, Holden maintained his fitness and played in some quality rugby sevens matches for New Orleans Rugby Football Club. The team came in second place in the Red River, just missing a spot in Nationals.
Holden also became the head coach of the Crescent City Blues for the team’s quest for the 2019-2020 Markel Cup.
NOLA Gold Comments
Ryan Fitzgerald, General Manager said “Holds has been a consistent player for us two years now. He’s played in and started 24 regular-season games – the first-ever in team history. Along with his quick release from the deck, he also defends his position very well and had 135 tackles to lead all No. 9’s.
To come right from St. Mary’s to the USA Selects and then into the MLR and compete the way he has is impressive. He’s a tough player and has the competitive edge that you want from your No. 9. We’re looking forward to the upcoming years with him on board.”