The Chicago Hounds signed JP Eloff for the 2023 Major League Rugby season after being traded from NOLA Gold in exchange for salary cap considerations. The 31-year-old fullback (32 in March) is 5’11” and 200 lbs. He is a versatile player and has also played flyhalf and center.
Eloff spent his first five MLR seasons (2018-2022) in New Orleans where he appeared in 36 games, starting 32. He earned first-team All-MLR honors in 2019 and finished top-five in total points scored in two MLR seasons.
He missed the 2021 MLR season due to injury before returning for the Gold in 2022 with nine starts in his 13 appearances. He had 113 carries for 1,003 meters gained (8.9 meters per carry), finishing the season with eight clean breaks and 30 total defenders beaten.
Eloff was injured before the 2020 MLR season at the World Tens Series in Bermuda and missed the entire season while undergoing rehabilitation.
Eloff has been with NOLA Gold since he signed in November 2017. In 2018 he started five matches, played 364 minutes, and scored 65 points. In 2019 he was a first-team All MLR first XV selection, starting 16 games, playing 1236 minutes, and scoring 141 points. In 2020 his time was limited to the two matches in which he started.
JP Eloff (Jean Pierre) is from Pretoria, South Africa. He graduated from HTS John Vorster in South Africa in 2010. Eloff’s family has an extensive rugby background with older brother Philip having played for the Eagles (#209) in the Rugby World Cup 2003 and 2007.
According to Zack Stryffeler of Rugby WrapUp, and a team-mate of his while with the Ohio Aviators in 2016, “JP Eloff played for the U13, U16, and U18 Bulls competitions. And again to mirror the steps of his brother before him, he had taken his abilities and smooth demeanor to Davenport University where he was an All-American at both the 15 and 7 a side rugby union codes.”
Eloff then moved to the United States to attend Davenport University, where he was a student from 2010-2014, earning a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) Degree.
While at Davenport, he led Davenport to back-to-back D1-AA National Championships in 2011 & 2012. In 2011 he was selected as Rugby Magazine’s College Player of the Year and also played as an All-American in the 2011 National All-Star Championship.
In 2012, Eloff played with the Chicago Lions in the Summer and the team advanced to the USA Rugby Club 7s Nationals. Eloff has also played with Tiger Rugby and has gone on several international tours with Paul Holmes.
Eloff made his test debut for the Eagles XVs at the Americas Rugby Championship against Canada at Round Rock, Texas on Feb. 13, 2016. He is Eagle #477 and played the last of his 10 test matches against Germany on Nov 18, 2017.
Eloff played professional rugby in 2016 with the Ohio Aviators, however, his season was cut short by an injury. He was interviewed on June 29, 2016, for a DJCoil Rugby article 2016 about the challenges of playing professional rugby. The interview and the other interviews with Ohio Aviators coaches and players may be viewed on the DJCoil Rugby Web Page under Videos, Professional Rugby Interviews, or on the DJCoil Rugby YouTube Channel.https://www.youtube.com/embed/xI69i9nHtVc#amp=1
Ohio Aviators will have a reunion of a sort, as they will be the sole team from the United States playing in the World 10s Series in Bermuda in October and November 2020. Eloff has been named to the team according to Goff Rugby Report.