The Houston SaberCats signed Will Crawford for the 2021 Major League Rugby season after performing well for their Academy team, Rugby HTX. The 27-year-old lock/back-row is 6’4″ and 250 lbs.
Will’s call up to the SaberCats was announced on the Rugby HTX Facebook page after a win over the Austin Huns.
Will played in a pre-season match for NOLA Gold in March 2018 against the Houston SaberCats, and also played with New Orleans RFC, and was used primarily at No.8. He has also played for Louisiana Tech Rugby Club since then.
Crawford is from Monroe, Louisiana and attended high school at Culver Academy where he played football and rugby from 2008-2012. While there, he was honored as Associated Press Honorable Mention for Defensive Line 2010-2011, Indiana High School Football Journal noteworthy player 2009, 2010, 2011, and was President of the Culver Rugby Club in 2011. In 2012 he was selected by DownUnder Sports as the State of Indiana Impact Player and played in the DownUnder Bowl in Australia that summer.
After graduating from high school Crawford attended the Arkansas University from 2012-2014. His freshman year at the University of Arkansas he tried out for the football team, surviving at the defensive end until the last cut, and was invited back for Spring 2013. He turned to rugby and played with the University of Arkansas Hogs.
During Fall 2014 he transferred to Lousiana Tech University to pursue a Business Administration Degree, where he has continued through his graduation with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration. While at Louisiana Tech, in 2015 he was recognized by Gift-Time Rugby Network as the Spotlight Player of the Week. The team “has seen a major turn around in the team since 2014 and this is partially due to the addition of 8-man Will Crawford.” In 2014, 2015, and 2017, the team won the Deep South Conference Championship and was twice ranked nationally. From 2018-2020, Will served as the head coach of the team.
According to Albert Castillo, who played with Will, said that “during those years, La Tech was a hidden gem and we had 3 players in the Deep South who currently plays professionally in MLR; Will, Billy Stewart (Nola Gold/Tulane), and William Waguespack (Nola Gold, ULL).”
In the summer of 2015, he spent time playing rugby in New Zealand playing for the Hutt Old Boys Marist. In December 2015 he played for the USA Rugby South Panthers against the Capital Selects at Furman University in Greenville, SC.
He also played for the NOLA 7s team in both 2016 and 2017, with the 2016 team going to USA Rugby Club 7s Nationals. He also played for Negro y Azul 7s team at the RugbyTown 7s in 2016 and for the Stars 7s at the Paradise Smash in 2017.
Will trained with both the New Orleans Gold Rugby Club and with the New Orleans RFC in 2018. He has seen match action as a No. 8 with New Orleans RFC, playing in matches against the Memphis Blues, Birmingham, Baton Rouge, and Knoxville.
Will founded the Louisiana Collegiate Rugby Tournament in 2018, which has continued as an annual event.
He also has developed skills as a professional photographer and videographer. He worked with the Ruston Convention Center and Visitor’s Bureau in a promotional capacity. He also served as the Social Media Director of the Deep South Rugby Conference and for Louisiana Tech Rugby.
Will returned to a professional rugby environment this past Fall with Rugby HTX and his performance has paid dividends as he moved up the pathway to the Houston SaberCats for the remainder of the 2021 MLR season.
Rugby HTX Comments
“We took a major step today in the growth of our program. The cohesion of the team is starting to happen. Our defensive discipline and efforts were what won our game. We are taking steps in the right direction towards building this program. Congratulations to Will Crawford @will_crawford53 for getting called up to the SaberCats. This past week.” – Head Coach Paul Emerick @paulemerickiv