Free Jacks Sign Hawke’s Bay Hooker Kianu Kereru-SYMES

Quincy, MA — January 9, 2023 — The New England Free Jacks are excited to announce the signing of Hawke’s Bay hooker Kianu Kereru-Symes. 

Hailing from Māhia, New Zealand, Kereru-Symes attended Hastings Boys’ High School, where he captained the First XV to a National Top 4 title in their undefeated 2017 campaign. The 5’11”ft, 234 lbs, 23-year-old hooker represented Hawke’s Bay at all age-grade levels, eventually making his debut for the senior NPC side in 2018. At the end of his first season, he won the Players Player of the Year award and the Rookie of the Year award.

His excellent performances led to him being named in the Hurricanes U20 team, as well as captaining the New Zealand U20 squad in the 2019 World Rugby U20 Championship in Argentina. Kereru-Symes was part of preseason squads with both the Crusaders and Hurricanes in 20’ and 22’, and eventually made his Super Rugby debut with the latter in 2022 against Moana Pasifika, scoring a try on debut.

“It is a real coup for the Free Jacks to sign a player of Kianu Kereru-Symes ability and stature,” commented Assistant Coach Mike Rogers. “Kianu whilst only 23 years of age has already amassed over 40 caps for Hawkes Bay in the NPC as well as making his debut in Super Rugby for the Hurricanes in 2022.  Kianu is an outstanding young man and a real leader having captained his high school, Hastings Boys to a National Championship in 2017 along with captaining the NZ Under 20s in 2019.  Kianu will bring leadership and physical intent to the Free Jacks in 2023!”

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 12 teams in 2023, featuring 11 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

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