The New England Free Jacks re-signed Josh Larsen through the 2023 Major League Rugby season. The 27-year-old lock (28 in April) is 6’5″, and 250 lbs.
Josh, the Free jacks captain, played 937 minutes in 12 starts and scored one try. He completed 139 tackles, ranking 21st in tackles made across the league. Seven of the tackles were dominant, ranking him 13th in the league often seen driving ball carriers backward. With a total of 69 lineout takes, Josh ranked 5th in the MLR.
Josh, who was named as the team’s 2020 captain, started all five matches for the Free Jacks during their truncated MLR season. He appeared in all but 8 minutes of the abbreviated 2020 season. “Larsen showed his worth with a team-topping 59 tackles and 19 lineout takes. The skipper even showed a knack for getting to the try-line with two conniving tries, one seeing Larsen dive over the breakdown.”
During the 2019 MLR season, Josh played 934 minutes in 13 matches for Austin Elite Rugby and was a key contributor. He scored two tries, carried the ball 91 times for 473 meters, and made 195 tackles.
Josh is playing for the Miami Sun 10s in the World Ten Series in Bermuda from October 25 through November 7, 2020.
Josh was born in Nanaimo, British Columbia, but grew up in New Zealand along with his brother Travis, who also played for Austin Elite Rugby Club in 2019.
Josh began playing rugby when he was 6 years old and attended Mount Albert Grammar School. He then studied at the University of Otago in 2015, pursuing a Commerce Degree.
In 2014 he played with the Canada Under-20s in the Junior World Trophy competition. In 2015 he played with the Taieri RFC and then for Northland Rugby Academy in 2016. The following year he played for the Northland Taniwha Mitre 10 Cup team, helping the club advance to the Championship.
In 2017 Josh was debuted for Canada’s Senior Men’s National Team against the Maori All Blacks in Vancouver. He has 15 caps, starting 12 matches. He played against Oxford University in 2018 leading up to the World Rugby Repechage and then started all three Repechage matches against Kenya, Germany, and Hong Kong as Canada won the 2019 Rugby World Cup final spot. He played at the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan. The last of his 17 tests (13 starts) was against Portugal at Lisbon, November 6, 2021.
Josh also played in the Canadian Rugby Championship in 2018 for the BC Bears. he then joined Otago in the Mitre 10 Cup in 2018, appearing in 4 matches, before a minor elbow injury curtailed his season. During 2019 he played professionally in the U.S. for Austin Elite Rugby and in 2020 will be in New England playing with the Free Jacks.
Free Jacks Comments
“We are delighted to have Josh back in Boston for what will be his third year with the New England Free Jacks and fourth season of Major League Rugby,” exclaimed Free Jacks Performance Manager, Tom Kindley. “Lars has developed into a great leader during his time in Boston, well respected for the way he leads relentlessly on the field and the kind of guy you can build a team around off the field.”
“A great lineout operator and accurate forward in open play, his game really kicked on this past year to a point where he played his way back into the starting Canadian line-up during the UK tour and was nominated Player of the Year by the coaching staff.