The Seattle Seawolves have re-signed Andrew Durutalo for the 2021 Major League Rugby season. The 33-year-old back row is 6’1″ and 240 lbs.
Drew started one match against Old Glory DC in 2020 with an injury curtailing the rest of the COVID-19 shortened season. Since the season ended, he enrolled at the University of Oxford in an EMBA program that he expects to complete in 2021.
Andrew Mataininotu Van Slyke Mataininotu Durutalo was born in New York City and moved with his family to Suva, Fiji. He graduated in 2007 from Suva Grammar Secondary School and after graduation went to Hakuoh University on a scholarship from 2007 to 2011, graduating with a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree (B.B.A.). He would like to continue his education and has applied to schools in the U.K.
He has played representative rugby in both Fiji and in the U.S. In 2006, he was the captain of the Fiji Under-19s at the U19 Rugby World Championships and was the U21s captain the same year.
In November 2011, Andrew became a USA Rugby national team player. He had the chance to play for Fiji, but the USA provided the opportunity to represent the country at the senior level for the Eagles.
Andrew has represented the Eagles 7s in 40 competitions gaining 40 caps since 2011. He played in the Rugby World Cup Sevens in 2013, where the team finished in 13th place. He also represented Team USA in the Rio Olympics in 2016. In rugby 15s, he has earned 22 caps for the Eagles XVs. His test debut was against Canada on June 9, 2012, & his last test was on Feb. 10, 2018, against Canada. He also played in the Rugby World Cup in 2015.
Andrew has played club rugby in the U.S. for Old Mission Beach Athletic Club (OMBAC) and for Seattle Old Puget Sound Beach. Professionally he was a member of the Super Rugby Sunwolves in 2016, the Greene King IPA Championship Ealing Trailfinders in 2017, and the Aviva Premiership Worcester Warriors in 2017-2018. He will return to the Ealing Trailfinders for the 2018-2019 season.
Andrew Durutalo,’s success with the Ealing Trailfinders earned him a contract with the Aviva Premiership Rugby Worcester Warriors. With the Ealing Trailfinders, he enjoyed a remarkable start to the season with five tries in just six games. He also was selected for the man-of-the-match award on three occasions.
While with the Worcester Warriors, he was a reserve against the Sale Sharks in December, and in January he played in the Anglo-Welsh Cup. He also appeared six times for the Worcester Cavaliers.
Andrew returned to the Ealing Trailfinders for the 2018-2019 season. It is a place where he has played some of his best rugby in a style that is suited to his being successful.
Drew resurfaced in Seattle and faced the Tasman Makos in the Seawolves’ final 2020 preseason match, and then played against Old Glory DC during the regular season.
Andrew Durutalo & Rugby
Andrew Durutalo has played for both the USA Rugby Men’s Eagles 7s and 15s, and professionally for the Super Rugby HITO-Communications Sunwolves, the Greene King IPA Championship Ealing Trailfinders, and the Aviva Premiership Worcester Warriors. He also has been an Olympian.
One phase of his life has ended. He notified me in February and again in May 2018 that he retired from international rugby 15s and will concentrate on his professional club career. He also wanted to play in the Rugby World Cup Sevens July 20-22, 2018 in San Francisco.
With the latter in mind, Andrew played in the first round of the Bounce Super Sevens Series UK for the Samurai Rugby on May 6 at Bury St Edmunds. The other rounds are June 2 at London Irish, June 16 at Chester RFC, and June 30 at Ealing Trailfinders.
Mike Friday, USA Rugby Men’s Eagles Sevens Coach tweeted on May 6, 2018, that the #YakaYard awaits him. The Eagles Sevens played their last two stops of the HSBC Sevens Series in London on June 2-3 and in Paris on June 9-10. Andrew was not part of the squad, nor was he for the Rugby World Cup Sevens in 2018.
Andrew has already been one of the all-time greats for the USA Men’s Sevens Program and could return to sevens today and contend for a spot in the Olympics in 2020. Being a professional means making choices and what it takes to support a family.
Mike Friday, Head Coach of the USA Men’s Sevens Team, has kept a core of players for several years now. That core and the other players in residence receive financial compensation which places the athletes at the near poverty level. The program is receiving greater support from outside funding and will need continued greater support for the program to succeed and to not lose players.
Andrew Durutalo 2018 Interview
Andrew Durutalo represented Fiji for the U19s and U21s, but when the opportunity to represent the USA at the Senior level, he took the opportunity to represent the Eagles.
At the international level, he played for the Eagles 7s and 15s, at the RWC7s in 2013 and the RWC15s in 2015, and at the Olympics in 2016. That is quite an accomplishment. What other rugby goals would he like to accomplish?
- Andrew has represented the Eagles 7s for a number of years and has been capped a number of times for the XVs Side. “Being involved heavily with the national teams on the international, it is time to establish me as a club player as well. I think the next big goal for me would be playing in any of the French leagues whether it be Top 14 or Pro D2 or even Federal 1/2/3.”
USA Rugby Men’s Eagles 7s coach Mike Friday has been concerned that financial considerations of athletes can potentially impact losing talented national team athletes. Was that a consideration when you began to play rugby 15s professionally? What were other considerations?
- “It is a guess to some extent, but I guess for the most part it comes down to the individual player on what they set their goals on, a lot of the 7s boys are focused on 7s because of the World Cup 7s (SF) being around the corner. There are also a handful of the boys that have had full international caps with the XVs team so that just shows you that they are capable of playing both codes. The dream has always been to be a capped International and go to a World Cup which I was fortunate enough to be apart of. Yes, unfortunately, the amount of money involved in XVs rugby in the modern game is way more than that of 7s Rugby, but it is certainly headed in the right direction. The other considerations were my family which also played a big part in my decision to play XVs which I am truly grateful for their support through the years.
What international rugby 15s accomplishment is a personal favorite? What are some other rugby accomplishments that make you feel proud?
- Personal achievements in XVs were receiving my first cap for the USA back in 2012 and the second would be making the Rugby World Cup Team 2015. Also making the Olympic team was probably some of my best memories representing the Eagles.
What are some of the reasons that you have decided to retire from playing international rugby 15s?
- I’ve Always told myself that I would want to leave the game on my terms, and I just think the time is right to go and probably focus on other areas of my life. One is the time spent away from family. Being a professional athlete whatever the sport maybe can be very demanding and takes up a lot of one’s time. Also wanting to build a good career as a club man at the same time being grounded in one place for a long period of time.
In the distant future, when your rugby playing days end, what rugby values do you feel will help you in life? What will you miss the most? How will you try to give back to help to grow the game?
- Rugby has given me so much, traveling the world, playing the best players, making lifelong friends, and being able to do something that you love for so long. It has taught me to be resilient through the ups and downs, teamwork, dedicated & disciplined are just some of the traits that I’ve learned from the game and will take with me the rest of my life.
- The one thing I’ll miss the most is putting on that Eagles jersey and playing alongside or against some of the best players in USA Rugby and World. Think it hasn’t really sunk in yet but for now just cherishing those moments with my teammates and some of the legendary Eagles that have put on the jersey.
- I have worked with some of the Rugby Development programs in the past namely Atavus Rugby and Eagle Impact Rugby Academy (EIRA). I may continue to help these academies in the future with coaching and player development for young upcoming players. It’s always good to give back to grassroots rugby and seeing youngsters realizing the potential they have in the sport is a satisfying feeling. So definitely will be giving back to Rugby in one way or the other.
What are the demands, responsibilities, benefits, sacrifices of being a professional rugby player? While it is an honor to play internationally for a country, how does this impact you as a professional?
- As a professional rugby player, it takes a lot both physically and mentally in the preparation or keeping your body at peak performance level to compete. Like I’ve mentioned before it probably consumes almost all of your time plus there is a lot of time spent away from loved ones. So indeed a lot of sacrifices to be made. Benefits are you get to travel the world, meet new friends, and play & get paid to do what you love to do. As a professional I guess I’ll be more focused on club and family now so my schedule will be a bit relaxed compared to other years.
- Lastly to the Eagles (USA Rugby), it has been an absolute honor to represent and put on the jersey. To all my teammates past and present, it has been an absolute pleasure playing alongside you all. The coaches/management thank you for your wisdom and knowledge passed on throughout the years. The fans for sticking with us through the ups and downs. Last but not least my family & friends who have supported me from day one thank you for always believing.
- ~Go Eagles