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Return of Rugby in Atlanta with Ross Deacon

March 12, 2021 - Major League Rugby (MLR) - Rugby ATL News Release

Born in San Francisco to Irish parents, Rugby ATL's Ross Deacon first picked up a rugby ball in Ireland after moving to the country as a one-year-old.

Finishing his degree at the University College Dublin in 2015, Ross then moved to New York in 2016 in order to represent New York Athletic Club.

His performances were noticed by the coaching staff of Rugby United New York in 2018, as the team began preparations for their inaugural season.

After playing in three exhibition matches, Ross was loaned to Austin in 2018, returning to the northeast in order to play a part in guiding New York to the MLR Championship Series at the first time of asking.

At the conclusion of that year Ross made the decision to move again. Enrolling at Life University to take part in their Chiropractic program, Ross was also reuniting with his former USA U20s coach, Scott Lawrence, who was heading up Rugby ATL, who play their home matches at Life.

"When I was in New York, that season was a great season for the team a whole, but the opportunity came for me to start my studies at Life University, to try and pursue a doctorate in chiropractic," Ross said.

"I had worked with Scott Lawrence at U20s level, albeit only briefly, but I knew that Scott was about, and we had a prior relationship before coming down, so it was an easy decision for me because I would be in school anyway and then with a team starting up down here, it was an easy decision for me to make."

Starting in four of the five matches ATL played in 2020 prior to Covid-19's intervention, Ross and his teammates have been preparing for their return to play for much of the past two months in Marietta, Georgia.

Playing an intrasquad game at the end of February and traveling to Utah last weekend, in order to play the Warriors, Ross and his teammates are getting fired up for their meeting with Toronto on the League's opening weekend.

Beating Utah 15-13 in Herriman, having trailed 10-0 at half-time, Ross says that the game in which he lined up against his friends and teammates was extremely beneficial for the group.

"You are always going to hit your mate harder, but it is for the talking points afterwards as well," Ross said. "You go over to your opposite number, who could be one of your best mates and you'll say 'I think you could have done this' and then he will tell you different things that you could be doing.

"I feel like that Silver vs Black game was definitely a very productive experience for us. In training it can be hard to gauge where a team is at until you actually put guys out on the field and actually out them in a game situation, then that is the only time you can ever really gauge where you are at."

Having lost to the Canadians 28-18 in Georgia just over a year ago, the Eastern Conference clash is just one in a series of mouthwatering fixtures that will mark the return of MLR after one year away.

With largely the same group of players returning for the team, it is hoped that ATL will recapture the form that saw them place fifth in their conference, just four points adrift of a playoff spot.

"I'd be lying if I said our long-term goal for the season wasn't to be playing for a title," Ross said. "Breaking it down into more short-term goals, we are definitely vying for the playoffs.

"Obviously rotating squads is going to be massive in this long season, with guys going down with different injuries, it is going to be testing, but if I was to say that we weren't planning on going the whole way, that would be doing us a disservice."

To learn more about Rugby ATL you can visit their official website or follow them on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.

Written by MLR Correspondent Joe Harvey

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