San Diego Legion signed New Zealand All Black No. 1088, Isaac Ross, for the 2023 Major League Rugby season. The 37-year-old lock (38 in October) is 6’7″ and 260 lbs.
After playing with the Austin Gilgronis the last two seasons in 24 matches and scoring 3 tries, he recently signed with a Japanese 5th tier club AZ-Momotaro. Now he will return early in time for the 2023 MLR season.
Isaac was in the 2022 two-week camp at the Chula Vista Elite Training Center in Chula Vista, California, which culminated in a scrimmage with San Diego Legion. Teams used different lineups in the halves and the Gilgronis emerged with a 12-10 win.
Last year, his coaching responsibilities included lineout and general forward play. He played 578 minutes in 9 starts and scored 3 tries in 2021.
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.