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From the Raptors to Rugby ATL

February 12, 2020 - Major League Rugby (MLR) - Rugby ATL News Release

Harley Davidson, the former Colorado Raptors wing who scored 15 tries in 25 matches for the side, moved back to Georgia to link up with former Life University coach Scott Lawrence once more, this time at Rugby ATL.

Enjoying a solid college career under Coach Lawrence, Davidson was a 1st All-American in both the 15-a-side and 7-a-side match and says that the opportunity to play under his college coach once more was a huge reason for him to return to Atlanta.

"When I played with Life University during my undergrad, I had Scott as both a defensive coach and as a head coach," Davidson said, "Scott is a smart guy. He's great at not only building great rugby players, but great people off the pitch too.

"My girlfriend even moved out here with me, I asked Scott to make sure she was taken care of and we got her a job out here as well. He has just gone above and beyond for the players and it is really awesome. He's building something here. There is a bigger picture in mind."

Playing at the Lupo Family Field on the grounds of Life University, Davidson is one of several Life players either returning to Georgia or carrying on their rugby journey in the state. Davidson's opposite wing is another Harley, Harley Wheeler, who also has a degree from the University.

Coming to ATL after two strong personal years with the Raptors, Davidson admits that it was a hard decision to leave Colorado. But the opportunity to also gain a postgraduate degree, for when he eventually finishes playing rugby, was a big influence.

"It was definitely a tough decision, because Colorado is a great team and I really loved it out there. But it is nice to come back home," Davidson said, "The big plus is that I am going to school out here, whilst playing for ATL as well.

"I just started the chiropractic program at Life University, so that gives me something to pursue once rugby is over with as well. The group of guys out here are great, I love being out here. This is such a hardworking group of guys and everyone is willing to put their head down and work. It is just phenomenal to be here."

Recruiting well in the offseason, Coach Lawrence brought in Canadian internationals Matt Heaton and Conor Keys to add some international experience to his forward pack, with Heaton joining the leadership group as a co-captain for the side.

"There are some guys on the team that have some really impressive experience. There are a ton of leaders on the team," Davidson said, "A lot of players are very young as well, they are fresh out of college, so it is a really good learning experience for them.

"No one has got a big head, everyone is very coachable, everyone is trying to get better, everyone is trying to push each other and that is what makes me really love being here. Everyone is competing and it has sparked a little bit of love for the game again. It is tough to be somewhere and kind of get complacent."

ATL enjoyed a good opening weekend in Major League Rugby as well. Coming from behind to beat the Utah Warriors 28-19 in Atlanta. Davidson was not on the scoresheet at the weekend but contributed greatly to his teams' victory.

Following their impressive victory over the Warriors, Davidson says that the goal for him and his teammates remains the same. Having all come to ATL for one reason, the wing explains exactly what the side wants to achieve.

"Obviously, the end goal is an MLR Championship. That is what we are all striving for and we are willing to put in the work to get there," Davidson said, "None of these guys would be in this league, at this team, if we didn't have the hope of winning an MLR Championship.

Having been in the league since its first year, Davidson has huge admiration for what MLR has already gone on to achieve, with the wing believing that there is a huge amount of respect between the sides in such a competitive competition.

"MLR has grown tremendously in just the last couple of years and it doesn't really matter who you are playing in the league, you have to have respect for the other team. You know they are going to be ready to come out and play. You can't take anyone for granted."

This weekend Rugby ATL travels to Louisiana to take on the NOLA Gold at the Shrine on Airline. The match kicks off Sunday, February 16 at 6:00 PM ET on CBS Sports Network.

Written by Joe Harvey

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