NOLA Gold signed Stephen McLeish after a trade with the LA Giltinis, who drafted him with the 22nd pick of the Major League Rugby Draft in June. NOLA Gold gave the Giltinis one of Gold’s foreign player spots in 2021. The 22-year-old hooker/back row is 5’11” and 240 lbs.
Stephen played in the Fall with NOLA Gold Academy and has also played with New Orleans Rugby Football Club. He was a reserve during the 2021 preseason match against Austin Gilgronis.
Stephen was born in Michigan to Australian parents and was involved in youth soccer and chess. When he attended Hamilton Southern High School in Fishers, Indiana, he initially tried out for the soccer team but was not selected and turned to football as a kicker. He also played Aussie Rules Football prior to playing rugby in high school. His nickname is “The Milk Man” from when he sold milk in High School.
Stephen enrolled at Lindenwood University from 2017-2020 and is a Computer Science major. He played rugby in the D1A Mid-South Conference and was honored as a 2018 USA U20 selection, 2019 Academic All American, and a 2020 Rudy Scholz Award Nominee. He also played for the Chicago Lions in the USA Club Summer 7s competition in 2019.