Austin Gilgronis signed Hugh Roach for the 2021 Major League Rugby season. The 28-year-old hooker is 5’10” and 245 lbs.
Hugh joins the Gilgronis after earning 50 Super Rugby caps since 2014. He won a Super Rugby Championship with the Waratahs in 2014 and a Mitre 10 Cup title with the Tasman Makos in 2019. What may surprise some is that away from the rugby pitch is that he has been a Justice of the Peace in New South Wales, Australia since 2018.
Hugh is from Sydney, Australia, and played Junior rugby with Hunters Hill Rugby Club, as well as at Newington College where he attended from 1997-2010. Sam Harris knows him well, as he was his rugby coach for some of his stay there.
Hugh follows his father’s Graham path at hooker, as he played for Western Suburbs in the Shute Shield. Hugh, however, would achieve greater rugby fame with his Super Rugby experience.
Hugh’s rugby prowess was evident early on as he made 11 appearances for the Australian Schoolboys in 2009-2010, which is tied for the most by any player. He also made 10 appearances for Australia U20s from 2011-2012. In 2011 he played against Fiji, Samoa, and New Zealand, while in 2021 at the IRB Junior World Cup he made 4 appearances against Scotland, Argentina, and against France twice.
Following high school, Hugh spent time in the Brumbies Academy in 2010-2011. From 2012-2018 he played with Eastwood in the Shute Shield. He was named Rookie of the Year in 2013 and won the Championship in 2015. After the Final, he was named Man of the Match by the TV broadcasters.
His performance for Eastwood in 2013 led to his selection for Western Force against the British and Irish Lions in June that year. He also joined the Super Rugby Waratahs in 2013 and made his debut on 18 May 2014 off the bench in a win over the Lions. He would go on to earn 41 caps for the team through 2018, as well as a championship in 2014.
While playing for the Waratahs, he also played for the Greater Sydney Rams in the National Rugby Championship from 2014-2017.
In 2019 he moved to Melbourne to play with the Rebels. A shoulder injury derailed his playing until round 8, but he would make 8 appearances through round 16. He also played with the Tasman Makos in 2019, making 10 appearances, as well as winning the Mitre 10 Cup. He then signed a contract with the London Irish, however, a foot injury then lead to the contract’s termination.
In 2020, Hugh gained his 50th Super Rugby cap in his sole appearance for the Crusaders against the Sunwolves. The Crusaders would go on to win the 2020 Super Rugby Aoteroa title.
Hugh’s Educational achievements
While at Newington College, Hugh was a volunteer with the Salvation Army from 2008-2010. The construction management courses taken had them design, build, and install beds at the center. If also gained him TAFE NSW Construction Building and Site Management 3 & 4 certification.
Hugh attended the University of Canberra majoring in sports journalism from 2011-2012, earned a Dipoloma in Business at Vocational Training Academy Australia, where he attended from 2014-2015. He also earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Human Resource management and Serivces at Macquarie University, where he attended from 2013-2018.
Hugh also attended the Australian College of Sport Fitness, earning a certificate 4 in fitness, personal health improvement and maintenance.
Austin Gilgronis Comments
The AGs are delighted to announce the signing of Australian spark plug hooker, Hugh Roach. The 28-year-old comes to the AGs from Super Rugby juggernaut Crusaders; bringing professional rugby experience from the top league and teams in the world.
“I’m looking forward to the challenge of earning the respect of a new fan base, new teammates, and new coaches,” says Roach. “It takes working hard at training and committing myself to the gym and playing field. With that, I’m also excited to experience a new culture in America and a new way of life, so that will be a learning process that I’ll enjoy taking on.”
AGs head coach Sam Harris actually coached Hugh Roach in high school and knew exactly the kind of high work-rate player he was getting in Roach. “Hugh brings success to the AGs – our team went undefeated in high school, he’s a Super Rugby Champion, and now an undefeated Mitre 10 champion,” says Harris. “So he’ll bring a winning mentality, but also a lot of confidence to our lineout.”
Today his signing marks his pursuit for another trophy in the shape of a shield; only seven and a half thousand miles away from home. “The overall goal is simple, win the competition,” says Roach adamantly. “My goal is to help my team win the championship by committing myself to preparation each week to put myself in the best position to be successful so the team can win.
”Offseason hooker additions of Hugh Roach, Robbie Coetzee, and draftee Mason Koch join Brendan Rams in the AGs hooker depth chart. A position unit now set up with a bit of depth; ripe for a position battle. Harris admits, “Hooker will be our most hotly contested position; with a rotation policy likely.
”Coetzee and Roach both made the move from Super Rugby to the MLR. Harris attests that both guys are weapons in attack and defense, both jackal like openside flankers, and break the line regularly. Brendan Rams has been hard at work in the gym this offseason and will have a clear size and strength advantage at the position. 22-year-old American draftee Mason Koch will have his work cut out for him to earn the job, but will undoubtedly earn a fast-tracked education of the hooker position this season alongside Roach, Coetzee, and Rams.
Roach is chomping at the bit to join the team this January and battle it out for the #2 jersey.
“This is a really exciting opportunity with a new team and a relatively young competition and I’m really looking forward to testing myself in a new setting and getting to know the team,” says Roach.
Welcome to the AGs, Hugh Roach!