San Diego Legion signed Thomas St George Franklin for the 2023 Major League Rugby season. The 32-year-old lock/back row is 6’7″ and 250 lbs.
Tom arrived late in the 2021 season and started five games for the Legion before re-joining the Kobelco Steelers in Japan’s League One.
Tom is from Ōpōtiki, New Zealand in the Bay of Plenty region. He attended St Paul’s Collegiate School in Hamilton and then the University of Otago in Dunedin where he graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management. He played club rugby with Southern Rugby Club in the Dunedin club competition and also played with Otago Rugby Academy. He also played for the New Zealand U20s in 2010 and won the Junior World Championship in Argentina.
Tom made his debut for Otago in 2011 in the ITM Cup (now Mitre 10 Cup) competition against Counties Manukau and made would make 51 appearances through 2019. From 2014 through 2016 he played Super Rugby with the Highlanders, winning the 2015 Super Rugby Championship.
In 2014 he played on the Mãori All Blacks tour of Japan, beating Japan in Kobe and in Tokyo. In 2016 he also played with the team against the USA and the Harlequins. In 2017 he played against the British and Irish Lions, as well as Canada and the French Barbarians. Through 2019 he has made 9 appearances with the team.
In 2016 he was selected as an injury cover for Sam Whitelock for the mid-year match against Ireland but did not debut. He was also selected for the 2017 Rugby Championship All Blacks Training Squad.
In 2017 he played with the Bay of Plenty in the Mitre 10 Cup and in 2018-2020 played in the Japan Top League for the Kobelco Steelers and would captain the team.
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