Rugby New York will have Brendon O’Connor returning for the 2023 Major League Rugby season. The 33-year-old flanker is 6’1″ and 225 lbs.
Brendon was the MLR Forward of the year in 2022. He started all 17 matches, carried over 500 meters, made 238 tackles (91.90% success rate), and scored 2 tries.
Brendon is from Gisborne, New Zealand, and attended Gisborne Boys’ High School. He is also qualified to represent England through his grandmother, although that was strongly considered earlier.
Brendon played for the New Zealand U20s, making five appearances in winning the IRB Junior World Championship in 2009.
He played in the ITM Cup for Canterbury in 2010-2011. This later became the Mitre 10 Cup, and in 2021, the Bunnings National Provincial Championship. In 2012 he was a member of the Crusaders Wider Training Squad and made two Super Rugby appearances.
From 2013-2015 he played with the Hawke’s Bay Magpies, making 34 appearances in the ITM Cup, and with the Super Rugby Blues from 2013-2015, making 42 appearances and being named the Blues MVP, as well as receiving the Player’s Player Awards in 2015.
From 2015-2019 he moved to the United Kingdom and played in the English Premiership with the Leicester Tigers, making his debut in the European Champions Cup in 2015, and playing 73 matches with the club, with 53 in Premiership matches, starting 46 times.
Then it was back to New Zealand to resume playing with Hawke’s Bay from 2019-2021, and with the Super Rugby Sunwolves in 2020 and the Crusaders in 2021.