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Heaton extends contract with Rugby ATL to 2023

Chantal Hortop

Godmanchester’s Matt Heaton has signed on to play Major League Rugby (MLR) in Atlanta, Georgia, for another two seasons. Rugby ATL, the team he joined shortly after playing in the Rugby World Cup in September of 2019, announced on June 25 that co-captain Heaton had signed an extension with the franchise until 2023.

Although he appeared in only four out of five matches played by the franchise in 2020 (the MLR season having been cancelled in March due to COVID-19), Heaton led the team in terms of tackles made, with a tally of 74. In a post on social media announcing the contract extension, Rugby ATL noted that as co-captain Heaton “will need to continue to develop a very young Rugby ATL locker room.”


Rugby ATL announced on June 25 that Matt Heaton originally from Godmanchester has extended his contract with the franchise to 2023 PHOTO Courtesy of Rugby ATL


“I’m really pleased to be going back for the next two seasons,” Heaton said, adding that he is eager to improve on the team’s performance in its first season. “We fell short of our high standards … we had some really good performances and came a long way as a squad, but we just didn’t get some of the wins we wanted.”

Heaton, the 2017 Rugby Canada Player of the Year, also expressed his gratitude for the opportunity he has in Atlanta. “It’s been a bit of a learning curve for me transitioning into [a leadership role] as I’m still pretty young in rugby terms, but it’s a challenge I’m enjoying.” The pandemic in particular has given him an even greater appreciation for playing rugby professionally: “I get to play sports for a living. Having done quarantine and now working a normal job for the first time in a while, I see how lucky I really am.”

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