Austin Gilgronis signed All Black Isaac Ross as a player coach for the 2021 Major League Rugby season. The 36-year-old lock is 6’7″ and 257 lbs. His coaching responsibilities will include lineout and general forward play.
Isaac is from Ashburton, New Zealand, and attended Timary Boys’ High School where he played rugby for the 1st XVs, and the National Secondary Schools. His parents played for the New Zealand National Team with his father Jock, an AllBlack, and his mother Christine, a Black Fern.
Isaac played for the New Zealand U21s in 2005, making four appearances, and for the New Zealand Mãori between 2007-2010.
From 2006 through 2010, he played for Canterbury 53 times and helped the team win three consecutive National Rugby Championships. He played Super Rugby for the Crusaders in 2007, the Highlanders in 2008, returned to the Crusaders from 2009-2010, and for the Chiefs in 2011.
Isaac made his debut for the All Blacks (AB #1088) in 2009 against France on 13 June and the last of his 8 tests was against South Africa on 12 September 2009.
From 2011-2020 Isaac played in the Japan Top League for the NTT Shining Arcs, making 89 appearances. He held a Japanese passport since 2017, however, a change under Top League law considered him a foreigner as he was capped internationally for New Zealand. This caused him and his wife Arnia, and sons Stanley, Franklin, Noah, and Isaiah to leave Japan. In 2020 he played for Tasman in the Mitre 10 Cup.
Austin Gilgronis Release
AG Rugby is delighted to announce the signing of New Zealand All Black No. 1088, Isaac Ross. Ross wants to help the AGs win the MLR shield, while also giving back and nurturing the local game from the grassroots level.
Isaac Ross will officially join the team on the pitch ahead of a week five home clash with Rugby ATL, but Ross has integrated himself into the team virtually over the last few months. “Half the battle in joining a new team is getting to know the guys; fortunately, I know a lot of the guys in this squad personally, especially in the management group: Sam Harris, Mark Gerrard, and Simon Thomas,” says Ross. “The bulk of the team that I met last year is still in this team so I’m looking to just come in and build on the legacy.”
AG Head Coach Sam Harris feels the 6’7″ 256lbs lock will make be a massive addition to the club. “As a player Isaac is multi-dimensional, for a large man he has a high skill level, extremely athletic, dominates lineouts (attack & defense), he has an extraordinary rugby mind and can articulate himself really well, and can play the enforcer when needed.”
Isaac Ross won the Mitre 10 Championship with Tasman Mako in November of 2020 after playing a decade in Japan’s Top League with the NTT Shining Arcs. Ross earned 8 caps for the New Zealand All Blacks before he was 27 years old and his father and mother both represented the All Blacks in their playing days.
Isaac Ross is the third All Black in the AG squad and is very familiar with his New Zealand counterparts and this AG coaching staff. Head Coach Sam Harris speaks on the importance of having All Blacks in the team. “Having All Blacks within of our squad means a lot to me; All Blacks know that they have an obligation to the game, and to develop the game worldwide. They bring a standard to the group whilst at the same time they have this uncanny ability to simplify the intricacies of a complicated game. All 3 of them (Isaac Ross, Jamie Mackintosh, Frank Halai) are great for team harmony.”
Ross’ joining this AG lock unit certainly ramps up an already hotly contested position group headlined by vice-captain Sebastian De Chaves, Christian Ostberg, Reegan O’Gorman, Cam Dodson, and Michael De Waal.
The AGs sit at 1-2 in the table coming off a huge win over state-rival Houston Sabercats last week. Ross is excited to help the AGs continue that momentum toward a playoff push, “This team is deadset on playing an exciting brand of footy, and they’ve done that already and narrowly lost those first two matches by a combined five-point margin,” says Ross. “I’m just excited to find my gaps in the game and see where I can lift us.”
Welcome to the AGs, Isaac Ross!