MLR Updates – January 2022

Seattle Seawolves Sign Burnaby Lake Scrumhalf Reid Watkins

Reid Watkins first shows up in our database in 2017 when the BC Bears won the national title over the Ontario Blues, the precursor to the Toronto Arrows. Reid Watkins was the backup #9 behind player/coach Phil Mack. Phil Mack would go on to be player/coach for Seattle in their two championship seasons. There’s a MLR/Seattle connection already.

In the fall of 2017 he became a regular on the Burnaby Lake Premier team, first at the wing position as Burnaby had an Irish scrum-half, Dermot O’Meara, to start the season. He sometimes showed up as the starting #9 on the Premier Reserves side but by November 2017 he was the starting scrumhalf on the Premier team.

By 2018 he was starting to get recognition as one of the top scrum-halves in the league. In 2019 he scored a hat trick of tries against the Rowers in a Burnaby win. In the spring of 2019 we polled Premier coaches for all-star selections and Reid Watkins was one of the top choices for #9 along with another MLR bound player, Fraser Hurst of UBC. Also on that list were two other players who could have walked onto an MLR team, Jorden Sandover-Best of the Ravens and Sam Fowler of Nanaimo.

In August of 2019 he was part of a BC team that took on a Canada XVs as part of the World Cup warmup and selection. Reid Watkins had a strong game for BC.

In January 2020, Seattle Seawolves prepared for their season with a warmup match versus the Vancouver Island Crimson Tide. Reid Watkins played for the Tide in that match.

The last mention of him in our database was in February 28th 2020, Burnaby vs Pacific Pride, just before COVID shut down rugby in BC.

from Seattle Seawolves

The Seattle Seawolves have signed Canadian-born scrumhalf Reid Watkins through 2024. The wrestler-rugby player combination earns his first professional contract with Major League Rugby’s Seattle Seawolves after progressing through high-performance programs.

“Reid’s path to the MLR has been one of sacrifice and dedication,” said Seawolves director of rugby and head coach Allen Clarke. “He’s an exciting scrumhalf who has worked hard to obtain a first professional contract with the Seawolves. As a crossover athlete from wrestling, he is no stranger to what it takes to be successful in elite sport having won four National Golds, a Pan American Championship, and competed at the World Championships. I’m looking forward to seeing his development and impact with the Seawolves over the next three years.”

Originally from Okotoks, Alberta, Watkins considers the Pacific Northwest home, playing most of his adult rugby in British Columbia. Watkins began his rugby career with the Foothill Lions Rugby Club and attended Holy Trinity Academy in Alberta, where he also wrestled at a high level. The scrumhalf represented Canada at the age-grade level for rugby while also competing nationally and globally on the wrestling mat. Watkins attended Simon Fraser University, continuing to wrestle at the NCAA level. His move to a different province also provided more rugby opportunities in rep-side program British Columbia Bears, Burnaby Lake, Vancouver Island Crimson Tide, and most recently the Vancouver Wave. Stints in the United States also support Watkins growth with appearances for the US South Panthers and the Hartford Harpooners. Signed to the Toronto Arrows for the tail-end of the 2021 season after training with Rugby ATL’s Pathway 404 Academy for a few months, Watkins trained with the Arrows but didn’t make an appearance before their season ended. The 5’10, 185 lb. scrumhalf brings great field vision, technical contact skills, sharp decision making, and growth potential to the Seawolves as he prepares to make his MLR debut in 2022. You can view Watkins’ highlights here.

“The energy coming from the Seawolves organization makes it impossible to not be excited about the upcoming season,” said Watkins. “The PNW is where I call home, so I am even more thrilled to be back playing rugby in my backyard.”

The Seawolves are set to face the UBCOB Ravens on January 22 and the Hartford Harpooners on January 28 as their two preseason matches. Regular season will begin February 6 as Seattle welcomes the Toronto Arrows to Starfire Stadium in Tukwila. 2022 season and half-season memberships, as well as group and single-match tickets, are on sale now and can be purchased here.

Posted in MLR.