In the first deal of its kind in the U.S., the Austin Huns have reached an agreement with the University of Mary Washington Men's Rugby that will give them a glimpse into a fast-improving varsity rugby team and establish their professional pipeline on the east coast, right outside the nation's capital. UMW will utilize the Hun's coaches for player development and give players and coaches the option to visit Austin for extended tryouts in their last 2 years of school.
According to the Huns Director of Rugby 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 professional side".
In the deal, the University of Mary Washington will give their juniors and seniors 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 that want to follow the professional path and look 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 on the grad school side – the Austin Huns are just another way we are raising the ceiling for our students. I am very impressed with Thierry Daupin as a manager and Eugene Eloff as a coach – I am excited for our students that choose to follow this path."
The Austin Huns are a founding member of Major League Rugby – kicking off play in 2018. The Huns have successfully started along the road to professionalism this season developing their own their own facilities outside Austin TX and fielding a team of professional 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 Washington DC on one of the best liberal arts campuses nationwide. They went 8-3 this fall and won their Bowl Series game to cap off their first year of D1 Rugby.
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