The Seattle Seawolves re-signed Nakai Penny for the 2023 Major League Rugby season. The 25-year-old flanker (26 in April) is 6’3″ and 215 lbs.
Nakai played 271 minutes in 8 starts and scored one try for the Seawolves in 2022. He was injured in the 2021 season and started all five matches during the truncated 2020 MLR season.
During the 2019 season, he played 786 minutes in 12 matches and scored 1 try. He carried 63 times for 408 meters, made 169 tackles, missing 4, and had 16 dominant tackles. He also had 1 linebreak, 3 tackle breaks, and made two offloads. In 2018 he played 214 minutes in 5 matches, starting three of them.
Penny was born in Penticton, British Columbia, and played rugby throughout high school at Penticton Secondary where he graduated in 2014. That year, the Pen High Lakers advanced to the AAA Okanagan Valley semifinal where they lost to the Salmon Arm Gold 17-12 in overtime.
Penny then enrolled at the University of British Columbia in 2014 and played with the Thunderbirds through 2017. He majored in Kinesiology.
In 2015 he played with future Seawolves teammate Brock Staller, as the Thunderbirds placed 3rd at the 2015 World University Rugby Cup. At the tournament, they had a significant win over the New Zealand Universities.
The team also won the B.C Premier League for 3 consecutive years from 2015 to 2017. He won the 2015 Canadian Rugby Championship with the B.C U19 men and was selected to Canada’s U20 squad in 2016.
In 2017 he played as a flanker with the BC Bears and won the 2017 Canadian Rugby Championship alongside fellow Seawolves Phil Mack, George Barton, and Brock Staller. In 2018 he also was on the BC Bears and played in two matches.
Seattle indicated that in re-signing Nakai in 2019 that “the flanker adds even more depth to the Seawolves forward pack with his physicality carrying the ball with pace and strength in contact. Penny is not someone you want to run into on either side of the ball and provides more athleticism to our set pieces.”
During the 2020 season, he will continue to be a defensive force as he seeks increased playing time.
Canada National Team
Nakai made his debut for Canada against Uruguay at the Americas Rugby Championship in Montevideo, Uruguay on February 2, 2019. The latest of his three tests was against Chile at Langford on February 22, 2019.
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