FirstPoint USA partner institution, the University of Mary Washington, has reached an agreement with Major League Rugby pro team - the Austin Huns - to provide a pathway into the pro game for the Mary Washington players.
In the first deal of its kind in the US, the Austin Huns will use the University of Mary Washington Men's Rugby team as a means of establishing their professional pipeline on the east coast, right outside the nation’s capital. UMW will utilize the Austin Huns coaches for player development and give players and coaches the option to visit Austin for extended tryouts in their last 2 years of university.
According to the Austin Huns General Manager Thierry Daupin, “We have high expectations of our incoming players, and in talking to coaches here and abroad, it is apparent that UMW is doing something different with their rugby program. We feel like just giving their students a look into our program will allow their players to choose the Austin Huns as their destination when they graduate. Looking at their program, they have players that are real prospects for our future professional side”.
In the deal, the University of Mary Washington will give their 3rd and 4th year players an opportunity to train and play over Christmas Break and during summer 7’s in Texas, with the Austin Huns, essentially an extended “job interview” for a professional role upon graduation.
UMW Director of Rugby Tim Brown added, “I hear loud and clear from our players that they want to take their game as far as possible. We fully support our students following the professional path and looking for employment in Austin, inside and outside of rugby. We are going to continue to work with the Leicester Tigers for player and coach development and with professional opportunities in Ireland for grad school – the Austin Huns are just another way we are raising the ceiling for our students. I am impressed with manager Thierry Daupin and Head Coach Eugene Eloff – I am excited for students that choose to follow this path.”
FirstPoint Chief Executive Andrew Kean added, "The agreement between UMW and the Austin Huns creates a fantastic opportunity for our rugby scholars to gain a foothold in the professional game after their graduation. Several of our student-athletes have already demonstrated their potential to progress to the next level and we look forward to following their success, both on and off the field, in the years to come."
The Austin Huns are a founding member of Major League Rugby – kicking off play in 2018. The Austin Huns have successfully started along the road to professionalism this season by developing their own facilities in Austin, TX and fielding a team of elite players from home and abroad. UMW Men’s Rugby is a founding member of the Chesapeake D1 Rugby Conference and had 3 players in the Collegiate All-American and u20 camps this year. UMW features an IRB-approved complex about 40 miles outside of Washington, DC on one of the best liberal arts campuses nationwide. UMW went 8-3 this fall and won their Bowl Series game to cap off their first year of D1 Rugby.