Rugby ATL re-signed Eamonn Matthews for the 2021 Major League Rugby season. The 23-year-old scrumhalf/fullback is 5’8″ and 170 lbs.
Eamonn signed with Rugby ATL for the 2020 season but did not play in any regular-season matches. Instead, he has played with Pathway 404 since Fall 2019. Eamonn played in the team’s silver and black 2021 preseason match.
Eamonn was born in Jersey City, New Jersey, and began playing rugby at 14 with the Jersey City Police Athletic League during his last year of middle school.
He then enrolled at Xavier High Scool in New York City where he had the opportunity to develop his rugby and leadership skills by USA National Team player, Eagle #384, Mike Petri. While at Xavier High School from 2011-2015, the rugby team had consecutive third=place finishes at USA HS Nationals, while finishing fourth and fifth in 2014 and 2015, respectively. The team also won three consecutive New York State Championships in 2013-2015. Following a selection camp, Matthew also earned a 2015 USA Rugby High School All American honors.
Recognized for his skills and game management, Matthews attended St. Bonaventure University as a Robert Peraza Scholarship recipient. Yueh Ho of the Jersey Journal indicates that “Rugby excellence was, of course, a requirement for the Robert Peraza scholarship. But the award, which honors St. Bonaventure alumnus Robert Peraza, who was killed during the 9/11 terror attack on the World Trade Center, is also dependent on academic merit.
Matthew attended St. Bonaventure University from 2015-2019, earning a BBA in Finance with a minor in Economics. He was a key contributor to the rise of the Bonnies Rugby program nationally and in the Rugby East under the leadership of head coach Tui Osborne.
He achieved several honors with the Bonnies. He was a two-time team captain, was the 2018 D1A Rugby East MVP, aw well as, a 2018 1st Team All-Conference selection. He also attended a USA Men’s Collegiate All-American selection camp at Life University in December 2016 and was named to the United States U20s team in 2017. He also attended the Collegiate All-American East Selection Camp at Iona College in 2019.
Following his graduation from St. Bonaventure University, Matthew joined 404 Rugby ATL, Rugby ATL’s Southeastern Regional Development Team. He played with the team during the Fall 2019 American Rugby Premiership and signed with Rugby ATL in 2020. He continued playing with Pathway 404 during 2020.
Sorensen & Scholz Award Finalist
In an interview with Mike Hogan, Sports Editor of The Bona Venture, Andrew Tui Osborne, head coach of the Bonnies men’s rugby club, discussed Matthews being in the running for the Sorensen & Scholz Collegiate Rugby Player of the Year. He indicated that “Matthews is more than deserving of this honor, explaining how hard Matthews works on and off the field. Osborne spoke highly of Matthews’ character and leadership.
“He is so deserving of this nomination,” said Osborne. “Hopefully he gets it. Eamonn is probably the hardest working player on and off the field. The leadership he brings with his actions. Everyone turns to Eamonn for answers and leadership when the coaches aren’t around. He’s a skilled player and he’s brought into the culture that the coaches have brought on. He makes sure that everyone is doing their jobs in this program.”
Osborne also spoke to what this kind of accolade would do for his program.
“It’s a positive thing, and would bring more attention to our program,” said Osborne. “We finished our fall season No. 12 in the nation. So having this from Eamonn would be an addition to everyone turning their heads, saying ‘What’s this school in Western New York doing? What are they doing differently? And what can we know more about?’”
“I think it really boosted his belief in himself,” said Osborne. “This shows him where rugby can take him, especially now that we have a new USA Pro League. I think he’s really opened up to some of the options out there for him. He can continue playing at a professional level.”