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# Major League Rugby
Ex-Munster scrum-half Poland among five Irish in Free Jacks squad
The Boston club are gearing up for their first season in Major League Rugby.

FORMER MUNSTER SCRUM-HALF John Poland is one of five Irish players named in the New England Free Jacks’ preliminary squad for their inaugural Major League Rugby [MLR] season.

The Boston-based club have announced a 35-man roster for the start of their pre-season preparations in December, including Cork native Poland, former Connacht out-half Tadhg Leader and ex-Ireland U20 hooker Sean McNulty.

John Poland and Stuart Worrell Laszlo Geczo / INPHO Poland in action for Munster 'A' last year. Laszlo Geczo / INPHO / INPHO

Second row duo Conor Kindregan, who was formerly part of the Connacht academy, and Ronan McCusker are also included in the squad having impressed for the Free Jacks in the Cara Cup competition earlier this year.

22-year-old Poland, who made one senior appearance for his native Munster, will link up with the Free Jacks once he graduates with a degree in Finance from University College Cork this October. 

The former Ireland U20 international was a regular in the Munster ‘A’ side in recent years but failed to make the breakthrough at the southern province, despite coming off the bench to make his debut against Zebre back in February 2018.

Leader, meanwhile, will hope to continue the impressive form he showed for the San Diego Legion during the inaugural MLR season in 2018, when he captained the side to the semi-finals.

The Galway native, and older brother of Connacht fullback Darragh, moved to the States in 2015 on a scholarship offer from Lindenwood University in Missouri, subsequently joining the St Louis Royals club as a player/coach. 

Having qualified to represent the USA Eagles through the three-year residency rule, Leader last January made a try-scoring international debut against Chile in the Americas Rugby Championship and will be a key player for the Free Jacks next term.

USA-qualified McNulty, who spent three years in the Leinster academy, joined Rugby United New York for the second half of the 2019 MLR campaign and adds to the strong Irish connection at the Free Jacks under head coach Josh Smith.

Sean McNulty Laszlo Geczo / INPHO McNulty played AIL rugby with UCD. Laszlo Geczo / INPHO / INPHO

“We are bringing together this group of incredibly talented and humble players from around the region, the country, and the world to ignite New England with professional rugby,” Smith said.

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“Our goal this off-season was to put together a complete team top to bottom leveraging the resources and quality pool we had locally. It will be very exciting to bring the new guys in to be embraced by the community and create a really dynamic competitive team environment.

“We can’t wait to see what they can do in 2020.”

The Free Jacks are due to announce additional players in the coming weeks, with the MLR season scheduled to get underway in February.

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