De Jager will join the Free Jacks from the Cheetahs in the PRO14.
BOSTON — August 25 2020 — Erich De Jager is set to join the Free Jacks for the 2021 and 2022 seasons of Major League Rugby. The 24-year-old, 6’2, 260lbs front rower makes the move to New England from South Africa’s Toyota Cheetahs in the Currie Cup and Pro14.
“I’m looking forward to joining what looks to be a strong Free Jacks unit and awesome community,” said de Jager. “I feel like I am only just starting to play my best rugby and can’t wait for the next challenge in a very exciting competition, Major League Rugby. I’m excited to see where we as a franchise can take rugby in New England.”
De Jager is a mobile prop and powerful scrummager that will add considerable strength to the Free Jacks front row. De Jager made his Pro14 and Currie Cup debut for the Cheetahs in 2017 and has since earned thirteen caps in the Guinness Pro14, nine caps in the Currie Cup for the Free State provincial based side, and 20 caps in the SuperSport Rugby Challenge.
“Erich is a powerful ball carrying tight head prop who loves a scrum,” beamed Free Jacks Head Coach Ryan Martin. “Erich provides versatility having played much of his rugby at loose head until recently, where he was used predominantly as a specialty tight head with the Cheetahs. His high energy approach to the game is sure to have supporters on the edge of their seats and we are excited to see him show what he can do in New England this year.”
Nicknamed “Tarzan,” de Jager was born in Port Elizabeth and represented the local Eastern Province Kings at age grade levels between 2009 and 2014. In 2015 De Jager earned recognition with the Free State Cheetahs academy side, playing for the Under-19 side in 2015 and the Under-21 squad in 2016 and 2017. In 2016 de Jager was included in the Free State XV squad that competed in the Currie Cup Qualification Series. After playing a further eight matches for the Free State XV in the 2017 Rugby Challenge, de Jager made his Currie Cup debut for the Cheetah’s in the team’s 45–34 victory over the Pumas in Round Three.
De Jager was first included in the Toyota Cheetahs side for the 2017-18 Pro14 season making his debut in their match against Welsh side, ‘The Dragons’ in Newport, and his home debut in their next match against the Cardiff Blues. Since then, the young prop has gone on to construct a significant top level career. De Jager was an integral part of the 2019 Currie Cup winning side, starting at Tight Head Prop in the Free State Cheetahs 32-29 victory over the Golden Lions at the Toyota Stadium in Bloemfontein in front of a raucous 40,000 fans in August, 2019.
Join Tarzan and the Free Jacks for a virtual meet and greet, “News and Brews,” on Thursday, September 10th. Grab a Free Jacks IPA and join the virtual gathering and get to know the newest Free Jacks and the returning players. RSVP using the link here: https://www.freejacks.com/news-and-brews/.
About The 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