New England Free Jacks Signs Holden Yungert

The Free Jacks signed Holden Yungert to the squad through the 2024 Major League Rugby season. The 28-year-old scrumhalf (29 in June) is 5’10” and 185 lbs.

Holden spent four years playing for NOLA Gold Rugby. During the 2021 season, he played 651 minutes in 15 matches, was on the matchday roster for another, and started 11 times. He also had 123 carry meters, 618 passes, a try, 886 kicking meters, and made 6/8 goal kick attempts.

In the Fall 2021 American Rugby Premiership season, Holden played flyhalf, wing, and his preferred scrumhalf position for Mystic River Rugby Club.

He played 132 minutes in four matches, starting twice, during the pandemic shortened 2020 season. He also played with NOLA Gold Academy in Fall 2020. He started against the Houston SaberCats in the team’s 2021 preseason match.

In 2019 he played 1142 minutes in 16 starts and scored two tries. He carried 55 times for 322 meters, made 3 linebreaks, 2 tackle breaks, 1 offload, kicked 12 times for 315 meters, and made 135 tackles. In 2018 he played 587 minutes in his 8 starts.

Holden is from Petaluma, California, and played youth soccer. He began playing rugby his freshman year at Petaluma High School. He also played for the North Bay Rugby Club Wildcats and the Marin Highlanders Rugby Youth team.

After graduating high school, he went to Saint Mary’s College of California from 2012 to 2017, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Environmental Studies. While there, he played D1A College Rugby with the team advancing to the Championship Finals against Life University all five years he was there. St. Mary’s won three Championships in 2014, 2015, and 2017 and lost in 2013 and 2016. Yungert missed the 2016 Championship, however with an injury. In 2017 he was named MVP of the tournament.

John Jackson of the Argus-Courier, discussed his selection to the All-Conference team indicating that  “An injury kept Yungert off the pitch for the second half of the 2016 season, but the senior from Petaluma made up for his lost time during the 2017 campaign. A scrum-half with the mentality of a forward, Yungert consistently provided clean ball to the backs, and also demanded organization around the breakdown.”

In 2017 he was also honored as a first-team Collegiate All-American and was selected as D1A California Player of the Month (February). Saint Mary’s Head Coach Tim O’Brien commented on Yungert saying “He’s a superb communicator, distributor, and playmaker for the squad. Most significant though is Holden’s defense, which – based on productivity – has raised more than a few eyebrows.”

In the article, Alex Solomon noted that while playing rugby that Yungert also holds a 3.8 GPA while studying Environmental Studies. O’Brien then added that “The sky’s the limit for Holden on and off the field.”

Saint Mary’s also traveled to play rugby in Ireland and Scotland in 2017. It was a tour that will provide lasting memories for the participants.

Yungert also played at the USA Rugby Collegiate 7s Nationals from 2013 through 2017. The team advanced to the Quarterfinals for the first three years, before winning the 2016 National 7s Championship 19-12 over Arizona State. In 2017, the team lost in the final to Lindenwood University.

In 2017, Saint Mary’s also played in the Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship. The team went undefeated in pool play and then lost to Life University 7-5 in the Quarterfinals. Yungert scored a try to account for all the Gaels’ points.

Yungert then traveled to Canberra, Australia for Summer 2017. He and five teammates along with Cal Poly prop Connor Cudeback, trained and played with the Easts Rugby Club Canberra first-grade side. They also worked with coaches and players from the Brumbies, a Super Rugby team.

On September 16, 2017, Yungert played for the USA Collegiate All-Americans who lost a close match 20-18 against Oxford University. The match was played at Talen Energy Stadium in Chester, PA as a prelude to the Aviva Premiership match between the Newcastle Falcons and the Saracens.

He then was selected to play for the USA Rugby Selects in the Americas Pacific Challenge in Montevideo, Uruguay. The team finished second in the tournament losing their first match to Samoa A and winning against Uruguay A and Canada A. During 2018 he also played in the Americas Pacific Challenge.

Holden sparked NOLA Gold during the 2018 and 2019 MLR seasons and the feisty halfback will continue to be a key contributor through 2021.

During Summer 2019, Holden maintained his fitness and played in some quality rugby sevens matches for New Orleans Rugby Football Club. The team came in second place in the Red River, just missing a spot in Nationals.

Holden also became the head coach of the Crescent City Blues for the team’s quest for the 2019-2020 Markel Cup.

New England Free Jacks Comments

“Holden is a tremendous competitor who plays with his heart on his sleeve, a trait that will be well received by Free Jacks fans,” exclaims Free Jacks Performance Director, Tom Kindley. “He has proven to be among the best 9’s in the competition since 2018 and will add invaluable experience to our side.”

“Off the field, Holden is a fantastic ambassador of the sport. He has already sunk his teeth into supporting the grassroots in Boston playing for a local club and coaching within the academy system. ‘A really likable and well-rounded bloke,’ as NOLA’s GM, Ryan Fitzgerald would say, he’s the kind of guy you can build a team culture around.”

“We are delighted to have Holden making the trip north to embark on the next chapter of his career with us and at only 28 we hope to see Holden’s game go to yet another level within our environment.”

Yungert’s vast rugby experience ranging from college D1A Championships all the way to the MLR makes him a valuable asset to this Free Jacks team. As New England stocks up for the 2022 season, make sure to catch Yungert in action in his first season with the Free Jacks.

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North American Rugby News With A USA Slant