Old Glory DC Signs Kurt Baker as Player-Coach

Old Glory DC signed Kurt Baker as a player-coach for the 2023 Major League Rugby season. This announcement comes five days after his retirement from playing international sevens for New Zealand after the 2022 HSBC Sevens Series Dubai Sevens.

The 34-year-old fullback/wing is 6’1″, 205 lbs and will also assist in coaching the backs.

Kurt was born in Palmerston North, New Zealand, and attended Palmerston North Boys’ High School where he played rugby. After graduation, he was signed to the Manawatu Academy and in his second year made his debut for the Manawatu Turbos and helped them to win the 2008 National Provincial Championship. He played again for Manawatu in 2009 and 2017 making 22 appearances and scoring 25 points.

From 2012 through 2015 he played for Taranaki, making 57 appearances and scoring 110 points. In 2014 the team won the ITM Cup Premier Championship.

He also played Super Rugby for the Highlanders, making 10 appearances and scoring 10 points, between 2012 and 2015. In 2013 he was a member of the Crusaders’ wider training group before returning to the Highlanders last that year. In 2015, the Highlanders won the Super Rugby season title.

He then signed with the Italian PRO 12 club, Zebre for 2016-2017, making 11 appearances and scoring 10 points. In 2020 played New Zealand Provincial Rugby with the Hawke’s Bay Magpies, making 12 appearances and scoring 5 points, and helped the team win the Ranfurly Shield and Mitre 10 Championship.

New Zealand National Team

Kurt played for the New Zealand Under-20s in 2008. He made his New Zealand Sevens debut at the IRB World Sevens Series in Dubai in 2008 and played the following series in South Africa that year.

His distinguished sevens career for New Zealand would have him playing in 233 games in 53 HSBC World Sevens Series Tournaments, winning 5 Series titles and 12 tournaments through his final tournament at the 2022 Dubai Sevens.

Kurt won two Commonwealth Games gold medals in Delhi in 2010 and at the Gold Coast in 2018. He also was a non-traveling reserve for the 2022 Grames in Birmingham, U.K.

He played in three Rugby World Cup Sevens, winning Gold in 2013 in Russia and in 2018 in San Francisco. A silver medal was earned in 2022 at Cape Town. He also won a silver medal at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

Kurt also toured with the New Zealand Māori four times, between 2012 and 2015, playing in 7 matches, and scoring 5 points.

Old Glory DC Comments

“We are really Happy to have Kurt on board.” Said Old Glory DC Head Coach, Josh Syms. “He’s a tenacious competitor and a student of the game with vast experience in both 15s and 7s.
Kurt’s experience will be invaluable for our developing players and provide the backs the coach they need to succeed.”

“To watch Kurt play is to understand what a ‘fierce competitor’ really is,” said Old Glory
Chairman Chris Dunlavey. “As a player, we’re confident he’ll bring a spark to Old Glory’s game, and as a coach, we think he’ll elevate both the attitude and the skills of our whole squad. We can’t wait to see his effect on our culture.”

“I’m really excited to be joining Old Glory DC.” Said Kurt. “DC is a passionate team who are motivated to win. I’m looking forward to this new challenge and opportunity to grow.”

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North American Rugby News With A USA Slant