Seattle Seawolves Adds Ben Mitchell

The Seattle Seawolves signed Ben Mitchell to a multiyear contract after a trade with San Diego Legion for hooker Sean McNulty. His contract will take him through the 2024 or 2025 Major League Rugby season. The 27-year-old lock (28 in April) is 6’7″, and 245 lbs.

Ben played in 17 matches with San Diego Legion, the only player with the team to do so. He also was the 14th player in MLR to earn 50 caps.

Ben played 654 minutes in 10 matches, starting 9, for the Legion in 2021. He then played with the USA Select XV in the Americas Pacific Challenge in Montevideo, Uruguay.

Ben was a reserve for weeks 2 and 3 before starting the final two matches for the Legion in the truncated 2020 MLR season. He played 159 minutes.

Ben was the captain of Austin Elite Rugby from 2018 through 2019. He was regarded as the best player on the team and played in 15 of the team’s 16 games. He was among the league leaders in dominant tackles and carries. He was named to the All-MLR  First TEam in 2018 and to the Second Team in 2019.  In 2019 he played 1129 minutes in the 15 matches he started, carried 143 times for 699 meters, had 4 linebreaks, 1 tackle break, 9 offloads, 1 kick for 18 meters, and made 200 tackles. He was also 7th in the MLR in lineout takes with 43 and 4th in lineout steals with five. In 2018 he started all 8 matches and played 620 minutes.

Mitchell was born in Nottingham, England, and moved to Ireland when he was 6 years old. He then began playing rugby that same year at Youghal RFC, East Cork, Ireland, the local club side. Mitchell attended High school at Midleton College, East Cork, playing center and fullback, and was selected on the Munster School’s team in 2011 as a center.

After graduating high school, he attended University College Cork in 2012, majoring in Economics and Finance. He also played rugby with UCC RFC. During his first year with the club, he was moved from the center to the second row. For the first one and a half years, he played on the under-20s team and by 2014 made his debut in the senior/ All Ireland league, where he played on the senior team for over 5 seasons from 2014 through to the 2017/18 season. The UCC RFC was promoted from division 2 to division 1 of the All Ireland League in the 2015/2016 season. Mitchell was also honored as the UCC RFC player of the year on 2 occasions and played his last game for the team in November 2017.

Representative Rugby Honors

Ben Mitchell played for the Munster A/Development team against the Ireland 20s in May 2016 at Thomond Park in Limerick. He also played on the Irish Universities team in 2016 and 2017.

Rugby in the United States

Mitchell played for the Gentlemen of Aspen in the Rocky Mountain Summer League in 2016 and 2017. Following the 2019 season, he was named the Head Coach of the Gentlemen of Aspen and has won the open championship for two consecutive years in 2021 and 2022.

He signed with Austin Elite Rugby in October 2017 and was the perceived team MVP during the 2018 & 2019 Major League Rugby seasons. He then signed with San Diego Legion for 2020 and 2021.

Ben has been playing professionally in the United States since 2018, with the Austin Elite in 2018 and 2019, the San Diego Legion from 2020-2022, and in 2023 joining the Seattle Seawolves on a multiyear contract.

Ben played for the USA Select XV in the Americas Pacific Challenge in October 2021 in Montevideo, Uruguay after he qualified to represent the USA based on residency.

DJCoil Rugby 2019 Interview with Ben Mitchell

Ben Mitchell, Captain Austin Elite Rugby, discusses his rugby aspirations, as well as, the responsibilities and challenges of being captain. (Interview on May 19, 2019, at MCU Park)

Seattle Seawolves Comments

“It’s exciting to add a player of Ben’s experience, quality, and ambition to the squad for the forthcoming season,” said Seawolves director of rugby and head coach Allen Clarke. “Another USA-eligible player, he further strengthens our competition in the second row while adding tremendous athleticism and game-understanding to our forward unit. We welcome Ben and Mariah to the Seawolves family; it’s fantastic they have committed to what we are building for the next three seasons.”

“I am thrilled to be heading to Seattle,” said Mitchell. “When I decided to look at new teams, I drew up a list and Seattle was at the top of it. The club ticks every box. It’s run properly on and off the field, and there’s a top-class coaching staff and a team that perennially competes for Championships. I’m excited to play in front of the famous Starfire home crowd and help the team try and bring another Championship back to the city of Seattle.”

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North American Rugby News With A USA Slant