The Seattle Seawolves have signed an Olympian. Eagles 7s forward Garrett Bender will join the team for the 2018 Major League Rugby season. The 26-year-old has spent the last four seasons with the Eagles residency program in Chula Vista, playing in 24 tournaments on the HSBC Sevens Series while also suiting up for the 2016 Olympic Games.
A prop in the shortened code, Bender will play flanker for the Seawolves. His 1.94m (6’4″) frame will be useful in the lineout and his raw athleticism should see him adapt quickly to the 15-a-side game. With a background as a linebacker in American football, Bender spent one year with St. Cloud State before switching his focus to rugby.
Seattle now have five international sevens players on the their roster, with Eagles pair Aladdin Schirmer and Shalom Suniula, Canada’s Phil Mack, and former England star Mat Turner already announced by the startup franchise. The new professional competition kicks off on April 21.