After San Francisco announced the signing of former All Blacks legend Mils Muliaina, new US PRO Rugby side Ohio have made a shrewd move by acquiring former Wasps, Northampton and London Irish centre Dom Waldouck.
Originally touted as a future England international, Waldouck first burst onto the scene with Wasps and was part of the Heineken Cup-winning squad of 2007, the last time an English club won the tournament.
An England Saxon, Waldouck was also named in two England senior squads, both for the 2008 tour of New Zealand and again in 2010 when England toured both Australia and New Zealand.
Waldouck switched clubs in 2012, signing for Northampton Saints in the hope of furthering his international ambitions. However, successive injuries struck and his opportunities for the Saints were limited as a result.
He moved to London Irish at the beginning of this season and made five appearances for the Exiles.
Although not a household name like Muliaina, Waldouck is a multi-talented back and still relatively young. His signing will be a major boost to the new Ohio team, one of five new fully professional sides in the USA’s PRO Rugby tournament.
As a rule, the franchises are allowed to sign no more than five foreign players, all of whom are contracted to the league and not the individual sides. Waldouck joins the likes of New Zealand Sevens talent Orene Ai’i and Springbok international Pedrie Wannenburg in the competition, which it is hoped will help boost the growth of rugby union across the country.
London Irish Head of Rugby Operations, Glenn Delaney said (via London-Irish.com):
“This is a great opportunity for Dominic to embark on a new challenge in his career and we fully support him on his decision to compete in the American League.”
Although he was unable to fulfil his potential in England, Waldouck will be a sad loss to the Aviva Premiership. All the best of luck to him in his new challenge in the US.
Paul Wassell, Pundit Arena
Heineken Rugby Club celebrates and rewards real supporters who make the game what it is.
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