The Dallas Jackals signed Will Burke for the 2021 Major League Rugby season. The 24-year-old-tighthead prop (25 in March) is 6’0″ and 250 lbs.
Will played in the first two matches with Rugby United New York in Las Vegas to begin the 2020 season but due to the truncated season due to COVID-19.
Will is from Upstate New York and played high school football and wrestled. He attended the University of Buffalo from 2014-2018 and was a D1A Rugby East All-Conference honorable mention before his first-team All Rugby East selection in 2016. He was also nominated for the Collegiate All-Americans.
Following his graduation from the University of Buffalo, he played with the Buffalo Rugby Club in the Spring and helped them to finish 7th in the country in Men’s D2 rugby. Willa then went to Northern Ireland to play with Lurgan Rugby Football Club in the Kukri Ulster Championship Divison 2. In his team debut on 31 August 2019, he was named Man of the Match. That lasted four months before he returned to play with Buffalo RFC.
Will Burke has a bright future in rugby and joined RUNY after attending training camp, which led to securing an MLR contract for 2020. With New York filling their front row with experienced rugby veterans, signing with the Dallas Jackals may help him develop as a player with this young team.
Dallas Jackals Comments
It was not until his time at the University of Buffalo that he began playing rugby. Will says it happened on a fluke; “I was walking through the student union when a student asked if I played football. He then invited me to a training session the following day.” After a couple of training sessions, he was hooked and was named to the 1st team.
When asked why he fell in love with the sport so quickly, Will said, “because of the culture and camaraderie that didn’t match any team sport I played before.” He continued, “Rugby is unlike any other team sport in the world, you truly need all 15 men on the pitch working together to find success. It is a shoulder to shoulder sport with no room for arrogant and cocky players.”
Will says, “It’s exciting to be a part of an expansion franchise in the MLR. By the Jackals trading foreign spots for more draft picks, it shows how serious they are about building rugby in America.” Will says he is also excited to work with Coach Clarke. “He seems like the best fit for me as a player and I think with him as a coach I will be a great addition to the squad he has assembled in Dallas.”
Will will be accompanied by his long-term girlfriend Paige and their dog, Kygo. He says, “deep down I’ve always wanted to live in the south and feel like it’s a good fit.” Welcome to the pack Will!