NOLA Gold Rugby Club re-signed Eric Howard for the 2022 Major League Rugby season, his fifth with the club. The 28-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 375 minutes in 10 matches, starting 3, and scored one try for NOLA Gold in 2021.
He 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 32 caps, started 11 matches, and scored one try. He played for Canada at the Rugby World Cup in Japan. His last test was against Portugal at Lisbon on November 6, 2021.
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.
NOLA Gold Comments
“Eric has been a core player for us since day one. He is entering his 5th season with NOLA Gold and played 40 games for us! Eric’s consistency, work ethic and leadership in the front row directly reflects his success. He is one of us and we are proud to have him back in Gold.” -GM, Ryan Fitzgerald