Meet the Kiwi duo set to play significant roles for the Free Jacks in 2024
Two National Provincial Championship (NPC) Up-and-Comers join New England
Seta Baker is prepared to join the ranks of accomplished openside flankers who have proudly worn the Free Jacks’ number 7 jersey. The 22-year old is of Tongan descent but was born and raised in Auckland, New Zealand. At 6 ‘1 236 lbs, Seta is a powerful force to be reckoned with.
After graduating from high school, Seta received a rugby scholarship to pursue Aeronautical Engineering at the Nelson Institute of Technology. Seta relocated to the Tasman region where he now works as an aircraft engineer and plays rugby professionally for the Tasman Mako in New Zealand’s National Provincial Championship (NPC).
Seta has been a member of the Tasman Mako NPC squad since 2020. He debuted in 2022 and played a significant role this season accruing multiple starts. In 2021, Seta was selected for the Crusader’s Under 20’s to play in the Super Rugby NZ Under 20’s tournament. At the 2022 Community Awards Ceremony, Tasman honored Seta as their Development Player of the Year.
“Sitaleki is of Tongan heritage and shows it with his big ball carries and dominant defensive collisions,” said Head Coach, Scott Mathie. “In his first full season of NPC he has shown a capacity to work really hard for long periods which caught our eye. Qualifying and working as an aeronautical engineer whilst playing the game shows an indomitable will, something that really attracted us to him as both a person and a player. He has a lot of potential and we look forward to giving him the opportunity to unearth that here at the Free Jacks.”
Danyon Morgan-Puterangi is a 27-year-old Samoan/Maori New Zealander who joins the Free Jacks out of the North Harbour NPC union in Albany, Auckland. Standing at an athletic 6’ 205 lbs, Danyon is a true triple threat playmaker who will add intelligence and versatility to the Free Jacks backline.
Danyon is one of eleven siblings, a family almost large enough to field a rugby team. He played first XV rugby at the prestigious Westlake Boys school in Auckland, and studied at Massey University. Danyon earned his stripes in the North Harbour Club scene for the Takapuna club, who he steered to a North Harbour club championship in 2022. Notably, Danyon is also a veteran of New Zealand’s touch side the ‘Touch Blacks’ who he has played for since 2016 and developed a wide array of skills with the oval shaped ball.
Somewhat of a late bloomer, Danyon earned his opportunity and shot onto the NPC scene this year for North Harbour scoring four tries. With another seven months in a professional environment on the horizon, Head Coach Scott Mathie is excited to see what the playmaker can do.
“Danyon joins us from North Harbour in the NPC having had a breakthrough season for the franchise this year. His versatility across the backline is a real strength being able to play fullback, wing and fly half. He has shown to be a serious threat with the ball in hand. He is dedicated to improving and has spent many years in the club game waiting for an opportunity like this. This resilience will certainly stand him in good stead as we head into the 2024 season. Danyon stood out for me as a really intelligent player with a good feel for the game. We can’t wait to start working with him and welcome him here at 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.