Nick Lapponese '23 Picked in First Round of Major League Rugby Draft by Rugby New York

Nicholas Lapponese '23 Picked in First Round of Major League Rugby Draft by Rugby New York

Fairfield is celebrating Nicholas Lapponese's journey to MLR and his contributions to the University’s men’s rugby club.

“His leadership and commitment to his team and his craft paved the way for this monumental achievement, and everyone in the program is incredibly proud of him."

— Austin Ryan, Director of Rugby

Capping off his tremendous rugby career at Fairfield, men’s rugby club standout student-athlete Nicholas Lapponese ’23 was chosen by Rugby New York as the eighth pick in the first round of the 2023 Major League Rugby (MLR) Collegiate Draft on August 18, 2023. The selection marks a significant milestone for Lapponese and highlights his exceptional talent and dedication to the sport.

“Congratulations to Nicholas Lapponese for this remarkable accomplishment,” said Director of Rugby Austin Ryan. “His leadership and commitment to his team and his craft paved the way for this monumental achievement, and everyone in the program is incredibly proud of him. We are grateful to have been a part of his journey to a professional rugby career!”

Since joining the Fairfield men’s rugby club in 2019, Nicholas has been making waves and leaving his mark in the rugby community. In 2020, he was one of few to be selected for the Liberty All-Conference Second Team for his outstanding performance during the 2019-20 season. He was also appointed vice-captain for the men’s rugby club in 2021-22, and was named a 2021-22 Scholastic All-American. He earned a spot on the 2022-23 Liberty All-Conference First Team, and was selected as a 2022-23 Scholastic All-American. In February 2023, he was named one of National Collegiate Rugby’s (NCR) 2022 All-Americans, alongside 22 of the best D1 college rugby players in the country.

As a senior and team captain during the 2022-23 academic year, Lapponese led the men’s rugby club to the Liberty Conference semifinals. He also helped the men’s rugby team accomplish two firsts in program history: playing in the NCR national quarterfinals and reaching #12 in national rankings. The team earned the title of Liberty Rugby Conference 7s Champions, which guaranteed them a spot at the Collegiate Rugby Championships.

Lapponese was born and raised in Pelham, N.Y,. which makes his draft selection by Rugby New York even more significant. His rugby journey began just across the river from his new home stadium, Memorial Field, in Mount Vernon, underscoring his close connection to the sport and his local community.

Lapponese's journey from a local talent to an MLR draft pick exemplifies the opportunities that rugby can offer young athletes with immense dedication to their sport and is sure to inspire current and aspiring rugby players. For more information about the Fairfield University Men’s Rugby Club program, visit fairfield.edu/clubsports or friendsoffairfieldrugby.org.

Tags:  Top Stories,  Athletics

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