The New England Free Jacks re-signed John Poland through the 2023 Major League Rugby season. The 23-year-old scrumhalf (24 in November) is 5’7″ and 170lbs.
The Free jacks indicated that “The energetic and skilled Corkonian returns to New England off the heels of a standout debut season. As the second leading Major League Rugby try scorer in the abbreviated 2020 season, Poland fashioned the MLR Try of the Week in round four with a picturesque chip and chase against the Seattle Seawolves, and was named in the MLR Team of the Week in round five after a superb showing and a brace of tries against New Orleans Gold.”
“Poland was a standout player for the Free Jacks during the lockdown-shortened 2020 Season. Starting all five Free Jacks’ matches, Poland led the team in kicking at 878 meters, a mark of the young scrum-half’s box-kicking and field management talents. A constant attacking threat, Poland carried 23 times for 184 meters and was a second-equal try scorer in the league with four tries from the five matches during the inaugural, abbreviated season.”
John is from Ballinora, County Cork, Ireland, and began playing rugby at age five with Sundays Well, the club where his father played. He then attended Presentation Brothers College, where he served as captain for the team’s Munster Senior Cup Campaign. Initially, he played flyhalf and center but later switched to scrumhalf.
John played for the Ireland Under-19s and the Under-20s, the latter in the 2016 Six Nationals U20s Championship. He also earned Man of the Match honors in the 2016 Six Nations U20s opening clash with Wales.
In 2015 he joined the Munster Sub-Academy and also began playing club rugby with Cork Constitution through 2017 in the All-Ireland Division 1A. While there, he helped the team win the All-Ireland 2016-17 Championship and the All Ireland U20s League, as well as winning the Bateman Cup and Munster Senior Cup in both 2015/16 and 2016/17.
In 2017 he moved to University College Cork where he played in the All Ireland Division 1B, winning the Championship in 2017/18. He also played in 2019 for the Irish Club XV against Scotland.
John played for Munster A in the British & Irish Cup, while winning the cup in 2016-17. He made his debut for Munster PRO14 side against Zebre on 10 February 2018.
Following his graduation in October from UCC with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Finance, he joined the New England Free Jacks for the 2020 MLR season. The Free Jacks will now have him back for three more years, through 2023.
New England Free Jacks Comments
The New England Free Jacks are thrilled to welcome back surefire scrum-half John Poland through the 2023 season.
“I am really excited to get back to Boston for the 2021 season,” quipped Poland. “ I can’t wait to get back on the pitch and meet all of the new lads. Last year was a great experience, getting to see so much of the country and meet teammates from all over the world who became great friends.”
“Although gutting to not get a chance to play a home game at Union Point Stadium in front of a full house of Free Jacks supporters, I look forward to continuing to grow the organization in anticipation of that first home match,” said Poland.
“JP has been a fantastic addition to the organization,” commented Performance Manager, Tom Kindley. “He holds a well-rounded, campaign tested skill-set, including his ability to kick off both feet, and is able to turn the game on its head in a heartbeat through his ability to read the play and inject lightning-quick tempo on command.”
A fan favorite with the creativity and ability to set the field alight at any moment, Poland will continue to play an integral role in the Free Jacks camp for years to come.
“Most importantly, JP’s calm and mature demeanor has been fantastic as we continue to grow as an organization, as well as helping younger players as they learn to become true professionals,” said Kindley.
Join John and the Free Jacks for the next virtual meet and greet, “News & Brews,” on Thursday, September 10th. Grab a Free Jacks IPA by Baxter and join the virtual gathering and get to know the newest Free Jacks and the returning players. RSVP using the link here: https://www.freejacks.com/news-and-brews/.