San Diego Legions signed Chris Baumann for the 2021 Major League Rugby season. The 33-year-old tighthead prop (34 in May) is 6’2″ and 273 lbs.
Chris is from Steamboat Springs, Colorado. He attended Steamboat Springs High School where he played football as an offensive lineman and also played ice hockey before graduating in 2005. He then went to the University of Wyoming and played rugby from 2005/2006 before leaving for Scotland after the Summer. Summers would be a special time for Chris in playing for Steamboat Springs Rugby Club as the July Cow Pie Tournament was one he didn’t like to miss. He even had a stint with Rocky Mountain rivals, the Gentlemen of Aspen, and won a National Championship in 2009.
In Scotland, he played for East Kilbride Rugby Club. Later his travels would take him to the Philippines to play rugby. In 2012 he played with the Yokohama Country and Athletic Club, and in 2013-14 with Randwick Rugby Club in Sydney, Australia, as well as the Sunnycoast Uni Barbarians.
In 2014 he played with New York Athletic Club. His time there led to his playing for the USA Selects in the South American Tour of Uruguay and Argentina. In 2015 he played with the Santa Monica Dolphins before playing in the Gold Cup for the Austin Blacks. Chris would travel with his RV, which has since been retired recently for a custom-fitted Van these days.
Chris made his USA National Team debut against Tonga on July 19, 2015, in the Pacific Nations Cup. Between 2015 and 2018 Eagles 464 would play in 25 tests, starting 16, and scoring 2 tries, including one in the 2015 Rugby World Cup. The last of his tests was against rival Canada on June 23, 2018, in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
In 2016 Chris played for the Denver Barbarians, PRO Rugby’s Denver Stampede, and then for the Wellington Lions in the Mitre 10 Cup competition in New Zealand.
In 2017 Chris joined the English Premiership’s Leicester Tigers and made six appearances. He then returned to Austin to resume playing for the Austin Blacks and has done so through 2020.
In 2020 he played for the Austin Blacks in an MLR preseason match against the Austin Gilgronis. He most recently played in October/November 2020 for the Ohio Aviators Tens in the World Tens Series in Bermuda.
Chris is not afraid to follow his heart and his enjoyment of rugby has led him to move to many places around the world and to work in a variety of jobs from working in a wood mill to washing dishes. It is a surprise that he will be playing Major League Rugby. He could have done this since 2018, however, his satisfaction in playing with teammates and enjoying Austin has influenced his choices.
He remembers his roots and tries to come back to play with Steamboat Springs Rugby Club. He’s been a past team captain and was inducted in the Club’s Hall of Fame in 2019.