Limerick's Will Leonard helps New York make winning debut in Major League Rugby

Colm Kinsella, Rugby Correspondent

Reporter:

Colm Kinsella, Rugby Correspondent

Email:

ckinsella@limerickleader.ie

Limerick centre Will Leonard’s winning debut for New York in Major League Rugby

Former Shannon centre Will Leonard, who is now playing with Rugby United New York in Major League Rugby

FORMER Shannon centre Will Leonard enjoyed a winning start with Rugby United New York (RUNY) midfield in the side’s first ever Major League Rugby fixture on Sunday.

Leonard partnered England international Ben Foden in the Rugby United New York midfield as the league newcomers scored a hard fought 25-23 victory over San Diego Legion at Torero Stadium, San Diego.

Leonard’s midfield partner, 33-year-old Foden, won 34 caps for England between 2009 and 2013 and who more than 250 appearances for Northampton Saints over a 10-year career at Franklin’s Gardens.

Rugby United New York is the city’s first-ever professional club who joined Major League Rugby this season.

Twenty three-year-old Will Leonard has been a standout performer for Shannon RFC in the All-Ireland League since 2015.

Leonard started his rugby career at the age of eight, playing for Shannon RFC’s youth team. He went on to attend Crescent College Comprehensive, and won two Munster School Senior Cups with the Dooradoyle side.

After finishing at Crescent College, Leonard returned to Shannon RFC. He has been playing with the club for the past 5 years, helping them achieve promotion back to the first division in the All Ireland League rugby league.

In 2014, Leonard appeared for the Munster Under 20s squad, starting in matches against the Connacht and Ulster U20 sides. Leonard was nominated for the AIL Division 1B Player of the Year, as well as the All Munster Provincial Player of the Year during the 2017-2018 season. Most recently, Leonard was selected to play for the All-Irish club side this past year.

Leonard also holds a First-Class Honours Degree in economics and finance from the University of Limerick.