Quincy, MA — January 23, 2023 — The New England Free Jacks are excited to announce the signing of Otago Rugby standout Kieran McClea.
Hailing from Ashburton in the Canterbury region of New Zealand, the 24-year-old Scrum-Half was schooled at the prestigious Waitaki Boys’ High School in Otago, where his standout play earned him a spot for the North Otago side in 2018.
The kiwi halfback stayed down south to study Commerce at the University of Otago, where he quickly became one of the best players in Dunedin Premier Rugby. In 2021 he was National U85s Champion and later got a call-up to represent the prestigious New Zealand Universities squad.
His play caught the eye of the Otago NPC coaches, who made him a part of the training group in 2022. He represented the Otago 7s side first before earning his spot in the Otago 2022 NPC squad.
The 5’8”, 183lbs number nine made his NPC debut against Waikato and scored his first try later on in his start against Canterbury. McClea is a sharp passer, sniping runner, quality kicker and a committed defender.
“Kieran joins us off the back of a breakout season with the Otago NPC team, “ commented Head Coach Scott Mathie. “His story really resonates with what this team is about. He has worked through all the levels of club rugby to deservedly get his chance. This road is often the less travelled but reveals the most character. He has a firm grasp on the core roles of passing and kicking but compliments that with a really exciting running game. He’s a dangerous player who has always gone under the radar. This trend will likely not continue as there is some high end quality in his game that will take him to the next level soon. We look forward to his first season with the Free Jacks!”
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