MLR Draftee Mason Koch: What’s It Like Getting Drafted Into Major League Rugby?
The 2021 MLR Collegiate Draft is set for August 19th and the deadline to declare for this year’s draft is Friday August 6th. If you’re considering declaring for the draft, take some advice from the AG’s second-round pick Mason Koch.
For More Draft Details: https://www.majorleague.rugby/draft/
Mason Koch entered the 2020 MLR Draft two months before graduating with a degree from Dartmouth where he studied both Biology and Economics.
After winning the D1AA Championship with Dartmouth, Koch figured it couldn’t hurt to put his name in the hat for a potential career in professional rugby. So he strung together a highlight tape and declared for the draft.
What Did He Expect?
Mason: “I had an inkling that I might get drafted because I had gotten some attention from one coach that I knew was connected to the MLR, but everything seemed pretty uncertain until the day of the draft,” says Mason Koch. ‘When I got the call from Sam Harris (AG Rugby Head Coach) I was really surprised but really happy and ready to go for it.”
The AGs selected Koch with the 16th pick in the draft and offered him a contract ahead of the 2021 pre-season camp. Koch would compete with two international hookers Hugh Roach and Robbie Coetzee, both left Super Rugby to join the AGs in the MLR.
Into The Deep End
Mason: “This time last year I didn’t know what I was going to do or where I was going to go and now I’m here and ya the first season was a real whirlwind but each week went by really fast,” says Mason Koch. “I loved meeting and bonding with all the guys and it was an awesome experience and I learned a lot about myself and the game and I would absolutely do it all again.”
Mason: “You definitely get thrown into the fire because the coaches want to see what you’ve got, but through the process, you’ll end up finding a bunch of mentors that have played all over the world that are happy to give you advice.”
When Did You Know You Could Play At This Level?
Mason: “I think the pre-season game at Houston when I finally got thrown in for ten minutes I knew I was going to get a shot, and then week two against San Diego when Robbie [Coetze] and Roachy [Hugh Roach] went down with injuries I knew I was going to get 80 minutes that match. Once I got that under my belt, I thought ‘Ok this is hard work and it’s a different game but I can hang with it and we’ll see where this thing goes.”
The very next weekend Koch played another 80-minute performance for the AGs and scored two tries; earning himself MLR Player of the Week. Koch was officially the first-ever draftee to earn that honor.
Advice For Potential Draftees?
Mason: “Just go for it, you really have nothing to lose by declaring,” says Koch. “If you’re confident in your ability and you love rugby, you never know you may have a small shot and you might get picked up and get some opportunities you may have never gotten if you didn’t put your name out there.”
Putting Together A Tape?
Mason: “Get your hands on the best footage you can, anything on TV works great, if you can get footage from an elevated surface… the tape is a real difference-maker in the scouting process,” says Koch. “Then just show a variety of shots, not just you scoring tries, be sure to show yourself at the breakdown or making tackles or in the scrum or lineout and try to point out which player you are.”
What’s Next For Mason Koch?
Mason: “My plan is to stay here in Austin and rehab my hamstring, then hopefully the boys can put together a run next season and bring home that shield.”
Mason: “I’m happy to give any advice to any interested college player, it’s something I really enjoy doing, whether attached to the AGs or not feel free to reach out.”
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