New Orleans Gold Rugby Club has signed Moni Tongauiha to the team for the inaugural Major League Rugby season that is slated to begin in April, 2018.
Tongauiha grew up in Oakland, California where he played rugby for the Oakland Warthogs in high school. He then joined the Santa Barbara Rugby Academy and benefited from the coaching of Kevin Battle.
Kevin Battle, head coach of the Santa Barbara Rugby Academy indicated in Tongauiha’s 2015 player profile that “Tesimoni ‘Moni’ Tongauiha is the ideal mid-field back: big, fast and tenacious. He brings another element too, as he is a skilled ball distributor and a real student of the game. Keep your eye out for Mone, as he will accomplish great things.”
In October, 2016, Moni scored the opening try for the Santa Barbra NDA as they beat the New Zealand Institute of Sport 32-24. Curtis Reed of This is American Rugby reported on the match. He later went to New Zealand and played with the New Zealand Institute of Sport.
He then played outside center at Life West in 2017, where the team beat the Austin Blacks to advance to the National Club quarterfinals where they lost to Belmont Shore.
August 10, 2017, Tongauiha was selected as a reserve for the USA Islanders match against Saracensat the Bermuda National Sports Centre. The Saracens used the match as a preseason camp in advance of beginning their Aviva Premiership Rugby season.
Tui Osborne, St. Bonaventure Men’s Rugby Head Coach, was a member of the coaching staff for the USA Islanders. Osborne discussed Tongauiha as a player, indicating that “he is a skillful center when you need him to distribute and an elusive runner with ball in hand.”
Moni Tongauiha also commented about his signing with New Orleans Gold indicating that “I feel blessed to be playing professionally. Most kids, especially where I’m from; Oakland, don’t get this opportunity to play professionally especially with rugby.
Playing in NZ really opened my game up as a player and understanding it more. I got to play against some top tier players and gained a lot of experience from it.
The adjustments I’m concerned about is getting use to that humid weather and trying to live with it for 6 months. But other then that. I should be good.”
New Orleans Gold Rugby Club has signed a quality player that will be a key contributor when the season begins in April.
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