The Austin Gilgronis will have Kurt Morath back for the 2021 Major League Rugby season. The 35-year-old flyhalf (36 in November) is 5’11” and 200 lbs.
Kurt started one match as captain with the Austin Gilgronis prior to the truncated season ending in 2020. He then stayed in Austin with his family. He also played in the inaugural MLR season with the Utah Warriors in 2018.
Kurt was born in North Shore City, New Zealand, and attended the Hamilton Boys’ College. He played club rugby for Clonakilty RFC, provincial rugby for Auckland in 2006, and for Taranaki from 2006-2008. His Senior rugby career includes playing for Kubota Spears in 2013-2014, Biarritz in 2014-2015, the San Diego Breakers in 2016, the Utah Warriors in 2018, and the Doncaster Knights in 2018-2019.
Tonga National Team
Kurt is the all-time leading points scorer for the Tonga National Team. He made his debut for Tonga against Portugal on 28, November 2007 and last played in the 2019 Rugby World Cup against England on 22, September. Kurt has 38 caps (32 starts) and has 340 points for the team. He also played in the Rugby World Cup in 2011, 2015, and 2019, making 9 appearances.
Austin Gilgronis 2020 Signing Announcement
Everything is always bigger in Texas. The announcement of the additions of Kurt Morath, Pele Cowley, and Will Magie was no exception.
Austin Gilgronis Comments
Kurt Morath. Morath captained the AG’s on debut last season and brings veteran leadership and poise to the squad.
“Kurt has a wealth of experience but also a point to prove, ” says AG’s head coach Sam Harris. “Kurt can be a real standard keeper, he leads by example; so I’m looking for the younger guys to follow his lead.”
Morath’s March 5th signing was announced atop the Circuit of Americas tower alongside fellow AG’s international signees; Samoan scrumhalf Pele Cowley and USA Eagles flyhalf Will Magie. All three AG’s signees represented their respective countries at the 2019 Rugby World Cup four months prior.
With incumbent flyhalf and captain Zinzan Elan-Puttick ruled out due to injury, Morath earned the starting flyhalf job and captaincy ahead of the week five Texas Cup matchup with state-rival Houston Sabercats. The 35-year-old ran a dynamic and layered attack throughout the first half. Morath broke the gain line on his first two carries and added a conversion to the AG’s first try. He tallied four tackles and 143 kicking meters before an unfortunate blow to the ribs forced him out of the match in the 44th minute. In replacement came fellow debutante Will Magie, who went on to slot two crucial kicks to secure the AG’s first win of the season.
“It was cool to contribute to the team and help out, but if I had started and Kurt would have come on I’m sure he would’ve nailed those kicks as well,” says Will Magie. “You’d much rather have players that can step up and do that than have someone you’re not sure about- and like I’ve said, we want to win this thing and you don’t win the MLR shield with the best 15 you win with the best 30.”
Morath moved his beautiful family to Round Rock, TX upon signing and set off exploring the Texas countryside. Morath worked quickly to rehabilitate his abdominal soreness and continues to prepare for the upcoming season.
The AG’s have reloaded at the flyhalf position in re-signing Morath, Zinzan Elan-Puttick, Will Magie.
“Kurt and I have gotten on really well, Kurt brings heaps of professional and international experience,” says Magie. “Whoever earns the starting #10 jersey or whoever is coming off the bench is going to have the full trust of the coaching staff because all three of us are good players (Magie, Morath, Elan-Puttick), it just means the standard of training is going to be high and we’ll push each other on and whoever is playing the best is going to be on the field.”
Coach Sam Harris believes the same, “You can never have enough international flyhalves, I’m looking for each player to push each and support each other at the same time. ”
Welcome back, Kurt Morath!