Shawn Riley moved to Southern Pines in 2015 with two goals, compete for a National Title and get ready to play professional rugby one day.
Southern Pines Rugby has finished twice in the top 10 in the country, including a third place finish in 2016, and Riley has become the heart and soul of the team.
“He is a great teammate, and person, and fantastic rugby player,” said teammate Robert Bortins. “He has really developed as a leader on the field over the last two and a half seasons.”
In October, the New Orleans Gold, a professional rugby team in Major League Rugby, held a player identification camp at the National Athletic Village. In November, Riley achieved his second goal, a professional rugby contract from the Gold.
Major League Rugby has released its schedule for the 2019 season, its second season of operation. The 2019 regular season will start the weekend of January 26 and will conclude June 2, before heading into the MLR Championship Series. The second regular-season of Major League Rugby will span 19 weeks and will conclude June 2 before heading into the MLR Championship Series.
Following suit from year one, CBS Sports Network will feature a highlighted Game of the Week each week. Fans can expect to catch matches outside of CBSSN on ESPN+ and AT&T SportsNet. Official match times are subject to change.
Rugby United New York (RUNY) and the Toronto Arrows will join the second installment of MLR, solidifying a nine-team 2019 season. 2020 will see the additions of Atlanta, Boston and Washington, D.C.
Southern Pines Rugby is on winter break and will start back in January to chase a National Championship. High school rugby, women’s, and men’s positions are available, and you can go to www.southernpinesrugby.org to start playing or to come check out a match.
Written by Sandhills Sentinel contributor, Robert Bortins.
Courtesy photo of Shawn Riley signing contract with Nina Sullivan and Robert Bortins.