RUGBY UNITED NEW YORK ANNOUNCES FIRST GROUP OF RE-SIGNED ATHLETES
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NEW YORK (November 6, 2019)- Rugby United New York is thrilled to confirm the first group of athletes that will be returning to the organization following a successful inaugural season in Major League Rugby.
Brakeley, Lock, made his debut for RUNY in the season opener against the San Diego Legion. The towering unit earned 15 caps throughout the season, tying Ben Foden for earning the most minutes (1,200). He led the RUNY squad with 238 tackles, while carrying for 322 meters. Brakeley was second in the league for the most lineout steals (7) and in the top 10 players in the league for the most lineout takes (50). After earning First XV All MLR honors in 2019, the Lock represented RUNY on the US National team in the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
Foden, Fullback, earned 16 caps for Rugby United New York during his first season stateside. He tied with Nate Brakeley for most time on the field (1,200 minutes). The England international made 1,273 meters on 119 carries to led the team. Foden was dangerous with ball in hand all season long, leading the team in line breaks (9), tackle breaks (10), and offloads (22). This past offseason, he competed on X Factor: Celebrity with fellow rugby players Thom Evans and Levi Davis.
Mattina, Versatile Back, scored the first Major League Rugby try in RUNY’s short history when he touched down against the San Diego Legion in the 2019 season opener. He appeared all over the backline during the season, slotting in at Fly Half, Inside Center, Outside Center, Wing, and Fullback. The Native New Yorker carried the ball 59 times for 564 meters in addition to breaking the line 4 times. He was one of RUNY’s leading scorers (41).
MacDonald, Lock, earned 15 caps in his first professional rugby season. The versatile forward earned 769 minutes on the field, completing 137 tackles during that time, and was one of the team leaders in “dominant tackles” (13). MacDonald managed to get his name on the scorecard once last season, and finished with 200 meters on 59 carries. This offseason, Alex is working with the RUNY front office as the Community Outreach Coordinator. He leads students in rugby drills and shares the values of RUNY at various local schools and rugby clubs.
O’Keeffe, Center/Wing, made his debut for RUNY in the 4th week of the season, a win against the NOLA Gold. The young Irish playmaker went on to earn 14 caps, lining up at Inside Center, Outside Center, and Wing. He was a spark plug on attack, running the ball for 959 meters on 93 carries. Mark led the RUNY team with 11 broken tackles, while completing 94 of his own tackles. He scored 4 tries in his debut Major League Rugby season.
Comments from Greg McWilliams
“It’s exciting to announce the first batch of players returning for the 2020 Major League Rugby season,” shared Greg McWilliams, RUNY Head Coach. “They are pivotal players for RUNY as they all bring great experience, strong leadership and passion that’s critical to the team.”
Rugby United New York opens up the 2020 Major League Rugby season against the New England Free Jacks on Sunday, February 9th, at 4:00 PM EST. Ticketing options for this match will be made available in the coming weeks.
About Rugby United New York
Rugby United New York is a professional rugby team who joined Major League Rugby as an associate member in 2018, playing a brief, but successful exhibition season. Their first full MLR schedule took place in 2019. RUNY’s vision is to bring the excitement of professional rugby to the New York sports landscape. The use of rugby’s core values of inclusion, teamwork, respect, and discipline will help to educate, inspire and connect with the New York Community. Rugby United New York, the city’s first professional rugby franchise, strives to unite the entire rugby community and enrich it at every level throughout the region. The team was founded by James Kennedy of the Murphy Kennedy Group, who is an active supporter of grassroots rugby.
About Major League Rugby
MLR is a professional rugby league that launched in April of 2018. It’s an initiative of the American rugby community, in partnership with private investors, who believe that American rugby can thrive at the highest levels: as a commercial enterprise; as an influential player on the international scene; and as a participation sport at the youth and senior level. MLR is the pinnacle of the American rugby, and provides a rallying point for local communities, a focal point for American rugby fans, and an aspirational destination for young athletes. For more information, visit usmlr.com.
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