MLR Nationality Breakdown By Position: New England Freejacks

New England Free Jacks

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The other day I was thinking about fly-halves in the MLR -- since that is my position -- and I got to thinking how few American players there are playing fly-half in Major League Rugby. The only ones I could think of off the top of my head were Ben Cima (SEA), Scott Dean (SEA), Tadgh Leader (NE) and Zinzan Elan-Puttick (AUS) -- and it's worth noting that both Leader and Elan-Puttick grew up playing rugby in Ireland and South Africa respectively. 

So then I started thinking about positions in general, and which ones American players seem to occupy the most frequently in the MLR. To make it easier, I only looked at starting rosters from the first five weeks of the shortened 2020 season, but I think that's enough quantifiable data to get an idea of where American-eligible players are playing. 

*I used players' nationality of eligibility rather than their place of birth because the former of those two bits of information is much more easily attainable. 

 I've decided to go through and do each team one by one, starting alphabetically, so fourth up are the New England Free Jacks. 

New England Free Jacks

Props: Samoa (5 starts); Japan (1 start); France (2 starts); Tonga (1 start)

Week 1: Donald Brighouse (SAM) & Kesuke Hatakeyama (JPN)
Week 2: Simon Courcoul (FRA) & Donald Brighouse (SAM)
Week 3: Tolu Fahamokioa (TGA) & Donald Brighouse (SAM)
Week 4: Simon Courcoul (FRA) & Donald Brighouse (SAM)
Week 5: Tolu Fahamokioa & Donald Brighouse (SAM)

Hooker: Ireland (5)

Week 1: Sean McNulty (IRE)
Week 2: Sean McNulty (IRE)
Week 3: Sean McNulty (IRE)
Week 4: Sean McNulty (IRE)
Week 5: Sean McNulty (IRE)

Locks: Canada (5); USA (3); Ireland (2)

Week 1: Josh Larsen (CAN) & Jackson Thiebes (USA)
Week 2: Josh Larsen (CAN) & Jackson Thiebes (USA)
Week 3: Josh Larsen (CAN) & Jackson Thiebes (USA)
Week 4: Josh Larsen (CAN) & Conor Kindregan (IRE)
Week 5: Josh Larsen (CAN) & Conor Kindregan (IRE)

Flankers: Fiji (2); USA (6); Ireland (1); New Zealand (1)

Week 1: Naulia Dawai (FIJI) & Zack Stryffeler (USA)
Week 2: Naulia Dawai (FIJI) & Zack Stryffeler (USA)
Week 3: Conor Kindregan (IRE) & Zack Stryffeler (USA)
Week 4: Brad Hemopo (NZL) & Zack Stryffeler (USA)
Week 5: Ben Landry (USA) & Zack Stryffeler (USA)

No. 8: New Zealand (2); Fiji (3)

Week 1: Brad Hemopo (NZL)
Week 2: Brad Hemopo (NZL)
Week 3: Naulia Dawai (FIJI)
Week 4: Naulia Dawai (FIJI)
Week 5: Naulia Dawai (FIJI)

Scrum-half: Ireland (5)

Week 1: John Poland (IRE)
Week 2: John Poland (IRE)
Week 3: John Poland (IRE)
Week 4: John Poland (IRE)
Week 5: John Poland (IRE)

Fly-half: USA (2); France (3)

Week 1: Tadhg Leader (USA)
Week 2: Tim Guillimin (FRA)
Week 3: Tim Guillimin (FRA)
Week 4: Tim Guillimin (FRA)
Week 5: Tadhg Leader (USA)

Centers: New Zealand (8); Fiji (2)

Week 1: Sam Beard (NZL) & Liam Steel (NZL)
Week 2: Sam Beard (NZL) & Liam Steel (NZL)
Week 3: Sam Beard (NZL) & Poasa Waqanibau (FIJI)
Week 4: Sam Beard (NZL) & Poasa Waqanibau (FIJI)
Week 5: Sam Beard (NZL) & Liam Steel (NZL)

Wings: USA (7); Fiji (3)

Week 1: Mitch Wilson (USA) & Poasa Waqanibau (FIJI)
Week 2: Mitch Wilson (USA) & Poasa Waqanibau (FIJI)
Week 3: Deion Mikesell (USA) & Danny Collins (USA) 
Week 4: Deion Mikesell (USA) & Danny Collins (USA)
Week 5: Danny Collins (USA) & Poasa Waqanibau (FIJI)

Fullback: New Zealand (3); USA (2)

Week 1: Beaudein Waaka (NZL)
Week 2: Beaudein Waaka (NZL)
Week 3: Mitch Wilson (USA)
Week 4: Mitch Wilson (USA)
Week 5: Beaudein Waaka (NZL)

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