Quincy, MA — October 19, 2022 — The New England Free Jacks are excited to announce the signing of explosive Tongan backliner, Taniela Filimone.
Born and raised on the island of Lofanga, Ha’apai, Filimone started his rugby career at Tupou College Toloa before earning a scholarship in Rotorua, New Zealand. After High School, Taniela spent three seasons playing for Free Jacks assistant coach, Mike Rogers’ club team, Tauranga Sports where he impressed and was selected to National U19 title-winning Bay of Plenty in 2018. Filimone has since represented Tonga at the U20 level in addition to Bay of Plenty and the Manawatu Turbos in New Zealand’s NPC for the last couple of seasons. He recently spent three months training with the Chiefs Super Rugby side as a replacement player.
“Taniela is an excitement machine, playing center and wing he brings raw speed and athleticism to the Free Jacks backline in 2023,” commented Assistant Coach Mike Rogers. “Taniela brings huge enthusiasm and humor into our environment and no doubt will become a crowd favorite at Veterans Memorial Stadium in 2023!”
“I’m excited to come to the Free Jacks and experience a new mix of rugby knowledge and culture,” commented Filimone. “It will be an honor to wear the jersey and represent the club. I can’t wait to start this next chapter, and I especially want to thank my family as they are everything to me. Every game I play is dedicated to my mom and dad because without them I wouldn’t have opportunities like this.”
Taniela will be a welcome addition, bringing versatility and X-factor to an already well constructed New England backline heading into the 2023 MLR season. A player right on the fringe of international and Super Rugby, Taniela will be looking to stamp his mark on the competition, and develop his game further while under the tutelage of Scott Mathie, and Mike Rogers. Free Jacks fans should brace themselves for the Excitement machine running out onto the hallowed Veteran’s Memorial turf.
About New England Free Jacks: The Free Jacks are an aspiring and innovative live events, media, and consumer products organization. The core brand in the portfolio is The New England Free Jacks, the humble hard-working free-spirited professional rugby team competing in the emergent and exhilarating Major League Rugby (MLR), the premier North American professional rugby competition. For more information, please visit www.FreeJacks.com.
About Major League Rugby: Major League Rugby is a professional sports league, entering its fifth season and represents the highest level of rugby competition in North America. The League evolved from seven teams in 2018, to 13 teams in 2021, featuring 12 from the United States and one from Canada. Matches are televised on CBS Sports Network, Fox Sports 2, among other national and local market platforms. Select matches are available to stream live in North America on The Rugby Network, and all matches are available on The Rugby Network for international fans. MLR prides itself in fostering intense and high-stakes competition, while bringing together a passionate community built on the values of Respect, Inclusivity, and Tradition. For more information about MLR, visit www.MajorLeague.Rugby