Rugby ATL re-signed Ryan Nell for the 2021 Major League Rugby season. The 30-year-old center is 6’3″ and 220 lbs.
Ryan played 343 minutes and started all five matches for Rugby ATL at the center during the Covid19 shortened 2020 season. Following the season, he returned to captain the Pumas before an injury curtailed his season.
Ryan suffered a knee injury in the Pumas Super Rugby opener against the Cheetahs in October and is just returning to playing rugby with Rugby ATL before the 2021 season.
Ryan Nell began playing rugby at 4 years old in Cape Town, South Africa. He played school rugby from ages 7-18 for Paarl Gimnasium, primarily as a center but also played wing and full-back. While at Paarl Gimnasium, he also played cricket and chess.
He represented the Western Province at the U19 and U21 levels from 2009-2011. From 2010-2013 he attended Stellenbosch University majoring in Public Development Management, played rugby for the Maties and captained them for the 2012/2013 season. He competed in the Springbok Sevens in 2012 and captained the university side during the South Africa Universities Sevens in 2013. He also represented the Western Province in 2013.
From 2014-2015 he attended the University of Pretoria in their Bachelor’s of Environmental Studies program. He played first XV rugby for the Tuks in the Varsity Cup competition both years. He also played with the Blue Bulls Sevens and for the Blue Bulls in the Vodacom and Currie Cup competition in 2014-2015.
In 2016 Nell played for the Boland Cavaliers where he had 18 appearances and scored 65 points. His performance earned him the 2016 Player of the Year honors. He then went on to play for the Pumas from 2017-2019 before signing with Rugby ATL for the 2020 MLR season.
When he isn’t playing rugby, Nell likes to hike and spend time in the great outdoors.