The Super Rugby 2023 season is set to kick off on February 17, with NOLA Gold set to face the New England Free Jacks and Rugby Atlanta taking on the Toronto Arrows. New York will play their opening match the following day, travelling to Seattle to take on the Seawolves.
Rugby New York, champions of the 2022 Major League Rugby season, have announced their latest international signing ahead of their upcoming campaign.
Former Maori All Blacks, Highlanders and Hurricanes utility back Teihorangi Walden will don New York colours for the 2023 MLR season off the back of a strong showing for Taranaki in New Zealand’s NPC competition.
Walden spent six years representing the Highlanders in Super Rugby, amassing over 30 appearances for New Zealand’s southernmost franchise, primarily in the midfield. After a brief stint in Japan, Walden featured on a handful of occasions throughout the most recent Super Rugby Pacific season for the Hurricanes but will now take his ample experience stateside.
As well as clocking up over 80 provincial appearances for Otago and Taranaki, Walden has been a frequent selection in the Maori All Blacks representative side, taking on the likes of Brazil, Chile and Fiji. In just his second match for the team, Walden started in the No 12 jersey in the Maori All Blacks’ 59-22 win over the United States at Soldier Field.
Walden certainly isn’t the first high-profile player that Rugby New York have managed to lure to Major League Rugby.
In 2022, former All Blacks Nehe Milner-Skudder, Waisake Naholo and Andy Ellis all featured for the franchise in their first-ever title run.