The New England Freejacks have re-signed Anthony Purpura for the 2020 Major League Rugby season. The 32-year-old (33 in Nov.) Eagle prop is 6’3″ and 255 lbs.
Tony played with the San Diego Legion during the inaugural Major League Rugby season in 2018 and played in the Cara Cup with the Free Jacks. He was the vice-captain with the Free Jacks in an exhibition match against Rugby United New York on December 1, 2018.
Purpura is from Lawrence, Massachusetts and attended Brooks School in Andover, MA, and Avon Old Farms in Avon, Connecticut where he wrestled and played football.
He then went to the University of Maine between 2005-2009. While at the university, he played rugby and was a co-captain and president of the team. In 2007 was the team’s best year. “As the season went on, we climbed up higher in the national rankings,” Anthony Purpura said. “It was by far the most successful season that the University of Maine has ever had.” The team was ranked at No. 7 in national division II rugby standings during that fall and made it to the New England Rugby Union DII College Cup Semi-finals.
Purpura has played with a number of rugby clubs. In 2006-2007 he played with Mystic River. He then joined Boston Rugby Club in 2007 for the Super League and played with the team through 2017. Purpura also spent some brief time with other clubs. In 2009 he traveled to New Zealand and played rugby with the Ashburton Celtic and the Mid Canterbury Rugby Union. He also briefly played with Old Mission Beach Athletic Club (OMBAC) and the Calgary Hornets. During the Fall, 2017 American Rugby Premiership season, he played with Old Blue of New York, traveling from Cambridge, MA to matches.
Tony Purpura has also been a College Assistant Coach. He coached at Boston College from 2013-2015 and at Harvard from 2016 to the present.
USA Rugby Eagles
Purpura made his Eagles (#416) debut at the Churchill Cup against Russia at Glendale on June 5, 2010. He then had a 7-year gap before playing for the Eagles against Uruguay on Feb. 4, 2017, at the Americas Rugby Championship. The last of his 11 caps came on March 3, 2018, against Uruguay in Montevideo, where the team defended its Americas Rugby Championship title.
Purpura did have some representative experience, playing in the 2012 Americas Rugby Championship.
In addition to playing for the New England Free Jacks during 2018-19, was one of the club’s community performance coaches this past Spring. Look for him to make an impact for the team in 2020.