New England Free Jacks signed Matt Wirken for the 2021 Major League Rugby season. The 31-year-old lock is 6’7″ and 270 lbs.
Matt played 218 minutes in 4 matches, starting 3, for Rugby United New York during the 2020 Covid-19 shortened season.
During 2019, Matt played 163 minutes in 8 matches, had 15 carries for 44 meters, made 22 tackles, and had 1 lineout take. Following the season, he was the captain of the Kansas City Blues for the Fall 2019 season. While he is not playing rugby, he is a professional model.
In 2018 Matt played 251 minutes in 6 matches, starting 5, with NOLA Gold Rugby Club. In the Fall, he played with New York Athletic Club in the American Rugby Premiership.
Matt is from Kansas City, Missouri, and graduated from Rockhurst High School in 2008 and played football while there. He then went to Lindenwood University from 2012-2015 and graduated from Rockhurst University in 2016 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Spanish.
While at Lindenwood, he played rugby and was selected for the Heart of America U20 Selects. He also played with the Kansas City Blues since he was in high school from 2008-2017.
In the 2018 RUNY exhibition season, Matt played for Rugby United New York against the Capital Rugby Union Selects and the New England Freejacks. He was also selected to play in the third RUNY preseason match against the Toronto Arrows at the Buffalo Bills Field House in Orchard Park, New York, but a bus accident in the morning precluded the team from traveling.
New England Free Jacks Comments
I’m beyond excited to get involved with the Free Jacks! I’m ready to get amongst it with the boys, Coach Martin and the rest of the coaching staff. Looking forward to what the future holds for our squad!” said Wirken.
Nicknamed “Jungle Man Matt,” Wirken adds a massive ball-carrying ability to the Free Jacks forward pack.
“Matt is a domestic product who has demonstrated his ability at the MLR level,” commented James Willocks, Free Jacks Assistant Coach. “Matt ‘work rate ’ Wirken will add size and physicality to our pack, and we see him as a potential 2023 World Cup lock. Can’t wait to get him to work.