Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Q&A With NOLA Gold's Matt Hughston

We were lucky enough to sit down with new NOLA Gold signee Matt Hughston to talk about why he made the move to MLR.

TIAR: You haven't taken the most straightforward path to high-level earning your big breakout with the South Panthers. How do you see playing with the Gold in your overall journey?

Matt Hughston: Yes, my pathway has been unique. I take pride in being a South region product and as many who are familiar with the territory know it comes with it's own hurdles. Constantly disconnected from the elite ball being played in the states, struggles to stay on the National team radar because of that and the pure distances and sacrifices required to attend high-leveled events. Select level sevens has pushed me to where I am today. NOLA Gold is the next step for my career as I am back competing against the country's best. The stage has been set by MLR, and I am ready to prove once again why I belong at the top.

TIAR: How do you think your experience with the Ohio Aviators has aided you in preparing for the Gold?

Take the jump to read more.

MH: It has been huge! Before Pro Rugby I have been slated as a center and became a natural fit for a #7. Being able to learn forward techniques, line out skills, high level pattern play/organization/game awareness from some of the best professionals and internationals elevated my game and knowledge (Eagles/Canadians/All Black Internationals such as Jamie Mackentosh, Kyle Bailey etc)

TIAR: You've played both 7s and 15s. Is there one style you prefer?

MH: Tough question. I love both for the different elements they present. I have made a name for myself through 7s but have loved my time playing Pro and International 15s. The main reason I play now is to earn the honor to represent my country, if that is with the 7s boys or 15s, where ever I can help USA win matches.

TIAR:  What do you think you need to do to get on the national team radar?

MH: You will always have things to improve on in rugby. That's why it is so addicting! I believe I need to play my game and push for new heights in my time in MLR. My goals to get there are to keep working hard, ignore the politics and lead by making the right decisions on and off the field.

TIAR: What are you expecting from the Gold this year?

MH:  I am expecting big things! We have a full team of stellar players. Playing in the South and for the South Panthers, I have played with many times with the NOLA guys.  I feel there is unfinished business from Pro Rugby and NOLA could not be hungrier to win and write our own story. Stay tuned!

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