The Dallas Jackals signed Jeremy Lenaerts for the 2022 Major League Rugby season. The 29-year-old lock is 6’4″ and 260lbs.
Jeremy signed a two-year contract, plus a one-year option, with the Houston SaberCats that could have included him on the team through 2023. After signing with the Houston SaberCats, Jeremy opted out of the contract for the 2021 MLR season due to the covid-19 pandemic risks. The circumstances then changed with many adults in the U.S. being vaccinated, and he joined the team in mid-season, playing 438 minutes in 9 matches, starting 4, and scoring one try.
Jeremy played for three years with the Seattle Seawolves. In 2020 he played 251 minutes in all five matches, starting twice, during the truncated regular season. In 2019, he played 572 minutes in 15 matches, starting 6 times, had 2 tries, 62 carries for 285 meters, and made 115 tackles. In 2018 he played 228 minutes in 5 matches, starting 3 times.
Lenaerts is from Ghent, Belgium, and graduated high school from College Paters Jozefieten. He began to play rugby in 2002 with Gent RFC and left after 2009 to play with Lille Métropole Rugby Club where he played for three years.
While in Belgium, he played for the under 17 and under 18s in the 2008-09 FIRA European Championship in Treviso, Italy. The following year, he played for the under 19s in the Championship, which was held in Brussels, Belgium. In 2010-11 he also played for the under 19s in the FIRA European Championship, which was held in Bucharest, Romania.
On August 14, 2011, he also played for Belgium Under-19s against Scotland under 18s, which was hosted by the Glasgow Warriors.
In 2012, he joined the Training Center in Toulon and in 2014 left for Racing Club Narbonne Méditerranée, where he assisted in winning the France Elite D2 League Championship.
In 2015, Lenaerts enrolled at Central Washington University and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration (BBA) in 2018.
While at Central Washington, he was a 2015-16 USA Collegiate All-American Honorable mention and a second-team All-American for the 2016-17 season. During the Spring 2016 season, he helped lead CWU to the Varsity Cup Semi-Finals and after the season ended, he joined the San Franciso Rush.
Additional rugby honors followed in 2017. In January he attended the AIG Men’s Collegiate All-American Identification camp. This led to his selection for the September 16th Collegiate All-American’s match against Oxford University at Talen Energy Stadium in Chester, PA. The match was on the undercard of the Aviva Premiership regular season match between the Newcastle Falcons and the Saracens.
Todd Thornley: Central Washington University Men’s Rugby Head Coach
” Jeremy was one of the hardest working student-athletes in our program and an integral piece in our tight five with his physical play. Jeremy demonstrated consistency in playing at a high-level week in and week out.
I’m excited to see him compete at a higher level and continue his development as a rugby player.”
Adriaan Ferris: Athletic Director, Life West & former San Francisco Rush Coach
Jeremy is a big unit that uses his size well. His no-nonsense approach, work rate in doing the hard yards, and willingness to put his body on the line every game made him a popular member of the team. He earned the nickname J-2000 from the boys for his robot-like approach to training and games.
Dallas Jackals Comments
Elaine Vassie, Jackals GM, said, “As a CWU grad, who’s featured across the 4 years of MLR so far, Jeremy brings a work ethic and focus we are excited to have as part of our inaugural Jackals team.”
Lenaerts has one older brother and a German Shepherd named Bakkies (named after South African rugby legend Bakkies Botha). He enjoys cooking healthy meals to fuel himself and share with others. In the off-season, Lenaerts practices real estate and says, “it’s my second passion after rugby and an exciting industry where I see myself growing further after my pro rugby career.”
Lenaerts said, “I’m excited to have the opportunity to be part of a new franchise within the MLR. The management has a clear strategy of what kind of game they expect us to play and I look forward to adding my personal value to the team. The Metroplex is an exciting place to be a professional athlete, let’s get after it!”
Once in Dallas, Lenaerts looks forward to exploring the area and connecting with locals. “I love living in the US and it can’t get any more American than playing PRO rugby in Texas! I’m excited to try new food places, maybe get a nice Texas steak, and maybe catch a rodeo.”
Welcome to The Pack Jeremy!