The New England Free Jacks signed South African Wayne Van Der Bank through the 2026 Major League Rugby season. The 25-year-old center (early Birthday best wishes) is 6’0″ and 195lbs.
Wayne is originally from Pretoria, South Africa, and attended Menlopark High School. He played for Golden Lions XV between 2017-2019 in the Rugby Challenge and the Golden Lions in the 2019 Currie Cup. He then moved to Mbombela and played for the Pumas in 2020 and 2021.
New England Free jacks Comments
“We’re excited to bring a young talented player like Wayne to the Free Jacks,” exclaimed Free Jacks Performance Manager, Tom Kindley. “He has shown that potential in Super Rugby Unlocked, and has delivered some stellar performances against the best of the SA franchises earning himself the backline player of the year award for the Pumas in that campaign.”
“He has the versatility to play inside or outside center and shows an immense work rate that I know the Free Jack supporters will come to admire. Wayne is one of those players that has slipped under the radar in SA, his ability to move into space and offload in contact are aspects of his game that excite me. He is a team man, and a top competitor and I’m forward to working with him.”
In 2020, Van Der Bank appeared in 8 games for the Pumas, dishing out 5 try assists and completing 90% of his tackles on the other side of the ball. Wayne adds solid playmaking abilities and a strong defensive presence in the middle of an already talented backline.
A hardworking and humble athlete, Van Der Bank exclaimed that he’s grateful for the next page in his life. “It is a privilege to be making this transition to join the Free Jacks. I am overjoyed and excited for the season ahead. It’s a new chapter and I’m thankful for the opportunity to play in the MLR and move to the States.”