The American Raptors signed Will Crawford for the 2023 Super Rugby Americas season. The 28-year-old back-row/lock (29 at the end of December) is 6’4″ and 245 lbs.
Will played 345 minutes in 13 matches, starting 4, for the SaberCats in 2022. He also was the captain of Rugby HTX, the team’s Academy team this Fall. After the season ended, he played for Maccabi USA at the 2022 Maccabiah World Games.
Will’s call-up to the SaberCats was announced on the Rugby HTX Facebook page after a win over the Austin Huns in 2021. During the regular season, he played 17 minutes in one match against Rugby United New York.
Will played in a pre-season match for NOLA Gold in March 2018 against the Houston SaberCats, and also played with New Orleans RFC, and was used primarily at No.8. He has also played for Louisiana Tech Rugby Club since then.
Crawford is from Monroe, Louisiana, and attended high school at Culver Academy where he played football and rugby from 2008 to 2012. While there, he was honored as Associated Press Honorable Mention for Defensive Line 2010-2011, Indiana High School Football Journal noteworthy player in 2009, 2010, and 2011, and was President of the Culver Rugby Club in 2011. In 2012 he was selected by DownUnder Sports as the State of Indiana Impact Player and played in the DownUnder Bowl in Australia that summer.
After graduating from high school Crawford attended Arkansas University from 2012 to 2014. During his freshman year at the University of Arkansas, he tried out for the football team, surviving at the defensive end until the last cut, and was invited back for Spring 2013. He turned to rugby and played with the University of Arkansas Hogs.
In the Fall of 2014, he transferred to Lousiana Tech University to pursue a Business Administration Degree, where he continued through his graduation with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration. While at Louisiana Tech, in 2015 he was recognized by Gift-Time Rugby Network as the Spotlight Player of the Week. The team “has seen a major turnaround in the team since 2014 and this is partially due to the addition of 8-man Will Crawford.” In 2014, 2015, and 2017, the team won the Deep South Conference Championship and was twice ranked nationally. From 2018 to 2020, Will served as the head coach of the team.
Albert Castillo, who played with Will, said that “during those years, La Tech was a hidden gem and we had 3 players in the Deep South who currently plays professionally in MLR; Will, Billy Stewart (Nola Gold/Tulane), and William Waguespack (Nola Gold, ULL).”
In the summer of 2015, he spent time playing rugby in New Zealand playing for the Hutt Old Boys Marist. In December 2015 he played for the USA Rugby South Panthers against the Capital Selects at Furman University in Greenville, SC.
He also played for the NOLA 7s team in both 2016 and 2017, with the 2016 team going to USA Rugby Club 7s Nationals. He also played for Negro y Azul 7s team at the RugbyTown 7s in 2016 and the Stars 7s at the Paradise Smash in 2017.
Will trained with both the New Orleans Gold Rugby Club and with the New Orleans RFC in 2018. He has seen match action as a No. 8 with New Orleans RFC, playing in matches against the Memphis Blues, Birmingham, Baton Rouge, and Knoxville.
Will founded the Louisiana Collegiate Rugby Tournament in 2018, which has continued as an annual event.
He also has developed skills as a professional photographer and videographer. He worked with the Ruston Convention Center and Visitor’s Bureau in a promotional capacity. He also served as the Social Media Director of the Deep South Rugby Conference and for Louisiana Tech Rugby, as well as their coach from 2018-2020.
Will returned to a professional rugby environment this past Fall with Rugby HTX and his performance has paid dividends as he moved up the pathway to the Houston SaberCats for the remainder of the 2021 MLR season. He then returned to the Academy team, Rugby HTX for 2021-2022 before being re-signed to the SaberCats for 2022.