Major League Rugby Weekly – 03/02/2021 – MLR Dispersal Draft

Published by Christie Gilmartin3rd February 2021
Major League Rugby Weekly - 03/02/2021 - MLR Dispersal Draft

Rugby ATL Sign Life Uni Grad Ryan Rees

Rugby ATL have announced the signing of exciting, young Scrum Half Ryan Rees, ahead of the 2021 Major League Rugby Season. The 23 year old is one of the brightest talents on the scene, in the United States and came through the Life University system. Life have plenty of links with Rugby ATL and have provided plenty of talent to Major League Rugby. There players are disciplined and have a strong core skill set, helping make the transition to Pro rugby a lot easier.

Ryan Rees is a former Rudy Scholz award nominee and an All-American, from his time with life. He initially signed with the Gilgronis, in the former Westlake High player’s native Austin. Now, Rees has opted to join this well drilled Rugby ATL side, as they head in to their first full season of MLR rugby, after their inaugural season was cut short. He has plenty of talent but also plenty of talent ahead of him, with Rowan Gouws and Duncan Van Schalkwyk, already on the scene.

ilnicki & Busby Return For The Seawolves In 2021

Jake Ilnicki:

Canadian International Prop Jake Ilnicki, will be returning for the 2021 Major League Rugby season, with the Seattle Seawolves. Ilnicki is part of a large Canadian contingent that have helped Seattle Seawolves, to be the most successful team in Major League Rugby. The Tighthead joined the Seawolves, midway through the 2019 season and helped them lift the MLR Shield. He featured in four of their 2020 games and is a very strong and highly rated MLR Prop.

Ilnicki made his international debut in 2013 and then opted to head abroad to further his rugby development. He has played for the New South Wales Country Eagles (Australia), Manawatu Turbos (New Zealand), Northampton Saints, Newcastle Falcons and Yorkshire Carnegie (All England), and had a brief spell with San Diego Breakers (PRO Rugby) in between. The experienced Forward has earned 38 caps for his country and featured at two World Cups. A great bit of news for Seawolves fans.

David Busby:

The Seattle Seawolves have confirmed another new deal, for one of their 2020 roster members. Belfast born Centre/Back Three player David Busby has re-signed with the franchise, ahead of the 2021 Major League Rugby season. The 25 year old debuted for the Seawolves, in the shortened 2020 season. He has played in both Centre and out on the Wing, during his career. His versatility should lead to a good amount of game time next season.

David Busby came through the Ulster Academy and following a brief spell in Australia, with Brothers Rugby Club, he made his debut for the first team (2015). The lively and powerful running back, has also featured for the Ireland Sevens Programme, during the 2016/17 season. Busby joins a long list of Seawolves players to re-sign from last season and primarily they have committed to their existing squad.

Cronan Gleeson Joins San Diego Legion From Rugby ATL

Rugby AtL Prop Cronan Gleeson will be joining San Diego Legion, for the 2021 Major League Rugby season. Gleeson featured four times, in his one season with ATL. The 27 year old globe trotting prop impressed in his short spell with ATL, primarily featuring at Tighthead Prop. Gleeson can also cover Loosehead and is a useful option on both sides of the scrum. The Ireland Under 18s International has used rugby to travel the world and play for a number of different clubs.

Cronan Gleeson started out at Munster, in his native Ireland. He headed off for a season in France’s PRO D2, with Stade Montois, before continuing his global odyssey. Gleeson featured for Bury St Edmunds, Newcastle Falcons (Both England), Perth Palmyra (Australia), Getxo (Spain), and a host of Irish clubs. He returned to Munster and spent two seasons improving, before following coach Ryan Egan to Rugby ATL.

Three More Returning For The Sabercats In 2021

A Trio of Houston Sabercats players have signed new deals with the franchise, ahead of the 2021 Major League Rugby season. Van Stewart, Max Tacket and Zachary Short have all put pen to paper. All three players are USA Eligible.

Stewart is the only forward of the three, with the Australian able to play both Second Row and Blindside Flanker. The promising 23 year old, made his debut in 2020 and had looked set for further game time, prior to the season ending early. Instead, Stewart headed back to his native Australia and turned out for Manly in the Sydney Schute Shield.

Max Tacket is the oldest of the group, at 29 years old, but he proved to be a very useful option, in his debut season (2019). The powerful Centre made a total of 10 appearances that season. Tacket did not feature in the shortened fixture list last season, so will be hoping for more game time this year. He faces strong competition, but the California native is a physical and direct runner, which is always useful.

Zach Short learned his rugby back in New Zealand and like most Kiwis, he has a strong core skillset. Short can cover both Scrum Half and Fly Half, but it appears the Sabercats will use him in the former role primarily. Short made his debut in 2020 and will be hoping to push the likes of De Wet Roos, for a starting spot. The 23 year old has shown a lot of promise so far and is still developing as a player.

MLR Holds Supplementary Draft

Following the Dallas Jackals decision to delay their inaugural season, a number of their players have been placed into a dispersal draft to find new clubs. The draft group did not contain all of the Jackals registered players, as a number opted out of it. The MLR did add a number of those who weren’t drafted in the inaugural college draft. News on who has been picked by each club, will be announced in due course. Keep an eye out. All Internationally recruited players will be considered domestic, for the purposes of this draft, so they do not take up a foreign player spot on the roster.


  1. LA Giltinis
  2. Houston SaberCats
  3. Austin Gilgronis
  4. Seattle Seawolves
  5. New England Free Jacks
  6. Utah Warriors
  7. Rugby ATL
  8. Rugby United New York
  9. NOLA Gold
  10. Old Glory DC
  11. Toronto Arrows
  12. San Diego Legion

MLR Commissioner George Killebrew:

“It was our duty to create a simple, incentivized, and equitable redistribution of the Jackals Players and to do so quickly,”

“I have no doubt that the teams to whom these players are allocated will be welcoming and the players will be as driven as ever towards a championship.”

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