The New England Free Jacks John Poland returns for the third year of his three-year contract for the 2023 Major League Rugby season. The 25-year-old scrumhalf (26 in November) is 5’7″ and 170lbs.
John played in all 16 regular-season matches plus in the Eastern Conference Final in a loss against Rugby New York. He has played in 37 of the team’s 38 matches since the 2020 season. He also has scored 11 tries, which is tied for second place for the club. He also has scored 83 points since he joined the team. After the season he played in the Rugbytown 7s for the Ramblin’ Jesters.
John played 1184 minutes in 16 matches as a starter and scored 32 points (4 tries, 3 conversions, and 2 penalty goals) for the Free Jacks in 2021. He kicked the ball 77 times for a total of 1,802 kicking meters. The starting scrum-half moved the ball down the field on his feet as well, making 8 line breaks and shaking 12 tackles throughout the season.
In the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, he started all 5 matches, playing 374 minutes and scoring 4 tries. He also carried 23 times for 184 meters.
John is from Ballinora, County Cork, Ireland, and began playing rugby at age five with Sundays Well, the club where his father played. He then attended Presentation Brothers College, where he served as captain for the team’s Munster Senior Cup Campaign. Initially, he played flyhalf and center but later switched to scrumhalf.
John played for the Ireland Under-19s and the Under-20s, the latter in the 2016 Six Nationals U20s Championship. He also earned Man of the Match honors in the 2016 Six Nations U20s opening clash with Wales.
In 2015 he joined the Munster Sub-Academy and also began playing club rugby with Cork Constitution through 2017 in the All-Ireland Division 1A. While there, he helped the team win the All-Ireland 2016-17 Championship and the All-Ireland U20s League, as well as winning the Bateman Cup and Munster Senior Cup in both 2015/16 and 2016/17.
In 2017 he moved to University College Cork where he played in the All Ireland Division 1B, winning the Championship in 2017/18. He also played in 2019 for the Irish Club XV against Scotland.
John played for Munster A in the British & Irish Cup, while winning the cup in 2016-17. He made his debut for the Munster PRO14 side against Zebre on 10 February 2018.
Following his graduation in October from UCC with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Finance, he joined the New England Free Jacks for the 2020 MLR season and now returns for his third season with the team.