NOLA Gold Rugby Club Eric Howard returns for the second year of his two-year contract that takes him through the 2021 Major League Rugby season. The 27-year-old hooker is 5’10” and weighs 233 pounds. He is part of the Leadership group for NOLA Gold and a key contributor to the team.
Eric played 229 minutes in 4 starts for NOLA Gold during the Covid-19 shortened 2020 season. In October/November 2020, he played for the Ohio Aviators Tens in the World Tens Series in Bermuda. He also started against the Houston SaberCats in NOLA Gold A’s only 2021 preseason match.
Eric was a second-team All-MLR in 2019. He played 1022 minutes in his 14 starts, had 9 tries and 9 try assists, and gained 434.4 meters. His tackle completion was 92 percent and he made 148 tackles. His leadership was evident when he was on the pitch, as he often played extensive minutes during matches.
In 2018, he played 320 minutes in 5 starts during the team’s inaugural MLR season.
Eric began to play rugby as a senior at Earl of March High School after previously playing hockey, soccer, and football. Upon graduation, he played rugby at the University of Guelph for the Gryphons for five years until 2016. In the last two years with the team, he was named MVP for the Gryphons. The team reached the OUA Men’s Rugby league Championship final for the third consecutive year against the Queen’s University Gaels.
Eric is a mobile player and that has been demonstrated with the Brantford Harlequins, the Ontario Blues, Canada, and with NOLA Gold.
Eric’s introduction to international rugby came in 2013 as he represented Canada at the FISU Games in Kazan, Russia.
Eric has also played provincial representative rugby for the Ontario Blues in the Canadian Rugby Championship. Most recently, he was on the 2018 squad.
In 2016 he was named to the Canada National Team for the Americas Rugby Championship. His test debut came against Brazil at Langford on February 20, 2016. Since then, he has earned 25 caps, starting nine matches. His last test was against New Zealand on Oct 2, 2019, at the Rugby World Cup in Japan. He also started against Italy in the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
Eric helped Canada to win the repechage in 2018. The National side beat Oxford University and played another preliminary match against Coventry before winning matches against Kenya, Germany, and Hong Kong, earning the last remaining sport at the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.
Eric also played at the Hong Kong Rugby 10s for the Penguins in April 2017. This was chronicled by Patrick Johnston in The Province.
Eric also represented Canada’s A’ team in the Americas Pacific Challenge at Montevideo, Uruguay. in both 2017 and in 2018.