MLR Collegiate Draft 2022
Major League Rugby (MLR) announced its third annual Collegiate Draft today where 39 of the best young rugby players in North America will be selected over 3 rounds. The MLR Draft Show will air on Thursday, August 18th at 7 PM ET on FS2, with the latter picks on The Rugby Network.
After the success of the inaugural edition of the Draft in 2020, 2021 didn’t disappoint either. Last year’s No. 1 pick Eric Naposki has established himself as an integral part of the Dallas Jackals while No. 3 pick Tavite Lopeti has represented the Seawolves and the USA Eagles since being drafted. A complete list of the 2021 MLR Draft picks can be found here.
“Draft Day is a big, big day,” said MLR Commissioner George Killebrew, “It’s the culmination of years and years of work for these athletes on the pathway to Major League Rugby and we are incredibly excited about the next set of stars.”
This year’s draft is open to US and Canadian collegiate athletes and will consist of three rounds, with the order of selection being determined by the inverse order of standings from the 2022 MLR season. Once selected, teams will use a draft-and-follow approach and will have until the mid-point of the MLR season after the player’s collegiate eligibility ends to reach an agreement with the player.
An exciting change from last year is that MLR has partnered with PlayWize as this year’s draft registration platform. PlayWize is a marketplace that allows athletes to connect with playing and commercial opportunities across the world. Athletes must download the PlayWize app from the App Store or Play Store, create a profile, and fill in the MLR Draft eligibility questionnaire to be added to the prospect list.
This year, MLR is also introducing Official MLR Combines held in association with various partners. “The launch of MLR Combines provides multiple opportunities for athletes to display their talents to teams and earn their spot in the MLR” said Commissioner Killebrew. These events are not limited to Draft eligible players.
- June 4: Academy & Draft Combine with Houston SaberCats (Houston, TX)
- June 25/26: MLR Draft & Academy Combine with Rhinos Rugby Academy (San Clemente, CA)
- July 30: Rugby Pro Day with Wisconsin RFU (Madison, WI)
The MLR Combines will fall either side of the Collegiate Rugby Shield that was announced earlier this year, which will take place on July 2 at Herriman, Utah.
“It’s important to us to host a combine for the MLR. As the only purpose-built stadium in the league, we pride ourselves on hosting as much rugby as we can. Events like these will continue to help grow the game in the US,” said JT Onyett, President of Houston Sabercats.
“We are honored to be one of the few selected organizations to support the MLR talent identification process. We look forward to welcoming and assessing the athletes aspiring to earn a professional contract with the MLR teams, as well as helping these athletes develop in a high-performance environment for a better chance at an MLR contract,” said Andreea Trufasu, CEO of Rhinos Rugby.
“The groundwork for the future of rugby is happening right now, and we want to be a part of it. We want to challenge and promote our talent. This is going to be really cool,” Robert Prochniak, President of Wisconsin Rugby Football Union.
Stay tuned to MLR social channels for more information in the coming weeks.