Browsing: Major League Rugby

Major League Rugby is a professional USA league that began in 2018 and has teams in the U.S. and in Canada. Current MLR teams include Austin Elite Rugby, Glendale Raptors, Houston SaberCats, New Orleans Gold, Rugby United New York, San Diego Legion, Seattle Seawolves, Toronto Arrows, and the Utah Warriors. In 2020, teams in Atlanta, New England, and Washington, D.C. will join the league and have exhibition matches in 2019.

The Utah Warriors signed Maikeli Mudu Naromaitoga for the 2019 Major League Rugby season. The 27-year-old flanker/lock is 6’4″ and 267 lbs. Maikeli is from Suva, Fiji and has an extensive rugby resume. He was a member of the 2010 and 2011 IRB Junior World Championship team that played in Argentina and in Italy, respectively. he also played representative rugby with the Nadi Rugby Union Under-20s those years. In 2012 he played with the Fiji Warriors in the Pacific Rugby Cup in New Zealand and in Australia. He also played with Sunnybank Rugby Club in Australia, with Honda Rugby Club…

Austin Elite Rugby added Craig Welborn for the team’s second 2019 Major League Rugby season match against the Utah Warriors on February 1. Craig and his twin brother Brian played with the team in a preseason match on January 11 against the Houston SaberCats. The 36-year-old lock/back row is 6’4″ and about 215+ lbs. He is from Austin, Texas and attended West Lake High School. He then went to Sam Houston State on a football scholarship, but was injured and transferred to Texas State University and graduated in 2008. Craig and his brother Brian run the Welborn Woodworks, a company…

Austin Elite Rugby has experienced the implications of the Americas Rugby Championship and has included Andrew Suniula on the 2019 Major league Rugby squad. He had transitioned to a coaching role with the team from the 2018 season. The 36-year-old center and team manager/coach is 6’1″ and about 240 lbs. In 2018, the Austin Elite Rugby had an Eagles brothers combination in the centers for the inaugural Major League Rugby season. Andrew played with the Chicago Lions President’s XV against the Houston SaberCats during the preseason, and Grant Cole, a Houston SaberCats commentator, broke the news that Andrew Suniula would…

The Utah Warriors have kept a core of players from the 2018 Major League Rugby season. The 26-year-old center and fullback is 5’11” and 220 lbs and is one of the core members. Iniki is the oldest of 8 children and grew up in Denver, Colorado. He attended Mountain Range High School and played rugby with the Aurora Saracens. He also spent time playing in the Glendale Raptors Academy, with Belmont Shore and with the Tiger Rugby Academy in Columbus, Ohio. In 2012 Iniki played with the USA Rugby Junior All-Americans in the Junior World Rugby Trophy, while with the…

The Utah Warriors signed Alex Vorster for his second Major League Rugby season. The 23-year-old hooker from South Africa is 5’11” and 232 lbs. Alex is from Durban, South Africa and attended Westville Boys’ High School from 2009-2013 in Westville, KwaZulu-Natal. He then moved to Utah to attend BYU from 2014-2018, earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics. He was part of the rugby leadership group from 2016-2018 and helped the team win the National Championship in 2015. In 2016 Alex was selected to the Collegiate All-American First Team and toured with the team in Australia. He also has served as…

The Utah Warriors have added a versatile back in Johnny Ika. The 26-year-old fullback is 5’5″ and 196 lbs. He also has played scrumhalf and wing. Johnny is from Ha’akame, Tonga and attended Liahona High School in Nukalofa, Tongatapu studying Music Technology and Tangaroa College in Auckland, New Zealand. He has also served the LDS as a missionary. Johnny played rugby in 2016 for the Wairarapa Bush and in 2017 for the Moutere RFC in the Marlborough Division 1 and in the NPD Tasman Trophy. In 2017 he also played with the Tasman Makos B against Canterbury B and Wellington…

The Utah Warriors signed Lance Williams for his second season with the club. The 25-year-old back row is 6’2″ and 255 lbs. Lance was born in Hawaii and his family moved to Samoa and then back to Kalihi, Hawaii when he was 12. He was a multi-sport athlete at WalalceRider Farrington High School, graduating in 2011. He then went to the University of Hawaii where he played linebacker in football and he became the captain and all-time leading tackler. Lance played rugby league in the 2016 Ohana Cup for the Hawaii Chiefs in 2016. He joined the Utah Warriors in…

Vernon Ale has signed with the Utah Warriors for his second season with the team. The 33-year-old wing is 6’1″ and 205 lbs. Vern is from Laie, Hawaii and is one of five children. His father played rugby locally, but Vern played football and basketball in high school. He played rugby at Brigham Young University-Hawaii and then went on an LDS mission in Auckland, New Zealand. Upon completion of the mission, he married his High School sweetheart and have four children. Vern also played for the Rugby Utah Selects in 2017 and club rugby for mana Rugby. Other Articles DJCoil…

Don Pati played with the Utah Warriors in the inaugural Major League Rugby season and returns for 2019. The 28-year-old fullback is 5’7″ and 195 lbs. Don was born and raised in Apia, Samoa and moved to Utah in 2004. Don attended Hunter High School and after boosting his language proficiency through ESL classes, graduated and then attended the University of Utah, after he received the USA Rugby Foundation Advanced Player Grant in 2009. He toured with the USA Selects to Canada in 2009. Don was selected to the USA Rugby Under-20s and played against the University of New Zealand…

Both Arawa and his twin brother Wineera played for the Utah Warriors during the 2018 Major league Rugby season. The 28-year-old flanker returns for 2019. He is 6’0″ and 215 lbs. Arawa was born and raised in Temple View, a suburb of Hamilton, New Zealand.  Ara started playing rugby in elementary school and played on multiple age-grade representative teams (Waikato U14, U15, U17 and U19 provincial teams). He attended Church College of New Zealand graduating in 2009. There, he captained the rugby 1st XV under coach Alf Daniels. He then moved to Utah and played rugby at Highland High School…

Tonata Lauti was on the All-MLR first team in the 2018 season and was the leading try scorer in the league. The 30-year-old, 5’7″, 195 lb wing is originally from Neiafu, Vava’u, Tonga and is one of thirteen children. His family moved to Salt Lake City, Utah in 1996 where he attended Highland High School. He was a multi-sport athlete in high school playing football, wrestling, basketball, soccer, track & field, but loved rugby. He served on an LDS mission in West Africa and then attended the University of Utah, playing rugby for the Utes. At Utah, he was a…

The Utah Warriors have kept a core group of players intact from the 2018 Major league Rugby season. Joseph Nicholls is a 27-year-old scrumhalf from Harare, Zimbabwe, who is 6’o” and 170 lbs. Joseph is the youngest of 3 boys and his oldest brother Ben played last year for the Warriors and is a coach this year with the Warriors Selects. Joseph’s father Alex Nicholls played in two Rugby World Cups, and his brothers both playing in the under 20s World Cup for Zimbabwe. Joseph came to Utah in 2010 and attended BYU and started on the rugby team as…

The Utah Warriors signed Josh Anderson for his second season with the team. The 28-year-old wing is 6’5″ and 210 lbs. With two flyhalves with the talent of Josh Reeves and James Semple, look for the Warriors to utilize Josh’s size with cross-kicks. Josh grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah and attended Highland High School, where his Grandfather was the Rugby team Doctor for 30 years. He began playing rugby at age16, playing for Coach Larry Gelwix for four years. He also played football for two years and lettered in baseball and in diving, the latter where he was…

The Utah Warriors signed Jahmin Gernhoefer for the 2019 Major League Rugby season. The 26-year-old back row is 6’1″ and 229 lbs. Jah is from Christchurch, New Zealand and moved to Hamilton with his family when he was 3 years old in 1996, living there until 2007. He attended Church College of New Zealand from 2006-2007 and played rugby and water polo. Jah then moved to Brisbane, Australia and attended Keebra Park State High School and played rugby league from 2009-2010. He then played for the Sunnybank Premier Colts from 2010-2012, as well as for the Queensland Under-19s, although the…

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