Tadhg Leader
Personal information
Born (1992-03-01) 1 March 1992 (age 30)
Galway, Ireland
EducationCistercian College
Alma materLindenwood University Lasell University (MBA)
Height189 cm (6 ft 2 in)
Weight93 kg (205 lb; 14 st 9 lb)
RelativesDarragh Leader (brother)

Football career
No. 76 – Hamilton Tiger-Cats
Position:Placekicker
Career history
Roster status:Active
CFL status:Global
Player stats at CFL.ca
Rugby career
Rugby union career
Position(s) Fly-half
Current team New England Free Jacks
Youth career
Galwegians
Amateur team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
2014–2015
2015
2016–2017
Rugby Badia ASD
Lindenwood Lions
St. Louis Royals
()
Senior career
Years Team Apps (Points)
2011–2014 Connacht ()
2018 San Diego Legion 7 (42)
2018–present New England Free Jacks 2 (11)
2019New Orleans Gold (loan) 1 (0)
Correct as of 12 December 2020
National team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
2011 Ireland U19
2012 Ireland U20
2019– United States 2 (11)
Correct as of 12 December 2020

Tadhg Leader (born 1 March 1992) is an Irish-born rugby union player and gridiron football placekicker. He is currently under contract with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League (CFL).[1][2]

He has also played for American professional rugby union club New England Free Jacks in Major League Rugby (MLR).[3] Leader was born and raised in Ireland, but after living in the United States for several years, qualified to play for the United States national rugby union team. His primary position is at fly-half, though he has also played at inside center.

Early life

Born in Galway, Leader grew up in Castlegar, just outside the city. He is a past pupil of the Bish, one of the city's secondary schools, and the Cistercian College in Roscrea. Leader is the older brother of current Connacht player Darragh Leader. Greg, the eldest brother, played for the province at underage level. Their parents were also heavily involved in sport, with their mother, Breda, serving as secretary for Rowing Ireland and their father, Noel, having played for and served as president of the Galwegians rugby club, where Leader first played the sport.[4]

Club career

Connacht

Leader graduated secondary school and signed for the Connacht academy in 2011. Later that year, Leader played an integral role in the Connacht under-20 grand slam winning team.[5] Leader was brought into the Connacht senior squad for the 2012–13 season.[6] Leader made multiple appearances for the Connacht Eagles in the British and Irish Cup.[7] After multiple injury setbacks Leader left Connacht and signed with Italian club Rugby Badia ASD.

Rugby Badia ASD

Leader arrived in Italy to play with Rugby Badia ASD in Italy's Serie A rugby competition.[8] A few months into his time in Italy a shoulder injury forced him to return to Ireland for surgery.[9]

Lindenwood University

In 2015, whilst recovering from a shoulder reconstruction Leader received a rugby scholarship at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri to play for the school's college rugby side the Lindenwood Lions. During his time at Lindenwood, Leader pursued an undergraduate degree in sports management. Leader was selected to play in the Lindenwood team that represented the United States at the Red Bull World Uni 7's in Bath in England.[10] However, shortly after arriving, Leader was ruled ineligible to represent the university in intercollegiate matches due to his time spent as a professional player in Ireland and Italy.[11]

St. Louis Royals

Leader linked up with local club the St. Louis Royals in 2016, whilst continuing his studies at Lindenwood. As captain-coach Leader led the Royals to a DIII national championship in 2017.[12] Leader was also named player's MVP of the Royals after the 2017 season.

San Diego Legion

In January 2018, Leader signed a two-year contract with the San Diego Legion of Major League Rugby.[13]

International career

In April 2011, Leader was selected for the Ireland under-19 squad for their game against France.[14] Later that year in December 2011, Leader was selected as part of Mike Ruddock's squad for the Ireland under-20s in preparation for the 2012 under-20 Six Nations tournament.[15]

Having lived in the United States since 2015, under the World Rugby three-year residency rule, Leader became eligible in 2018 to play for the United States. Leader was called up to the U.S. squad for the 2019 Americas Rugby Championship.[16]

American football

In 2020, Leader attempted to become an NFL placekicker.[17][18] He joined The Spring League's Aviators for the 2021 season.[19] Following week 6 of the 2021 European League of Football season, Leader signed with the Wrocław Panthers.[20]

Canadian football

On February 23, 2022, Leader signed with the Canadian Football League's Hamilton Tiger-Cats.[21]

References

  1. ^ "Ticats sign Global K/P Tadhg Leader". Canadian Football League. 23 February 2022. Retrieved 20 March 2022.
  2. ^ "Tiger-cats kicker Leader was part of U.S. rugby win over Canada in 2019". Sportsnet. 26 February 2022.
  3. ^ https://twitter.com/tadhgleader?lang=en[bare URL]
  4. ^ Kinsella, Murray. "Irishman Leader's path leads him into USA's Major League Rugby". The42. Archived from the original on 15 January 2018. Retrieved 17 January 2018.
  5. ^ "Irish Rugby". irishrugby.ie. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 17 January 2018.
  6. ^ Murphy, Alan (20 September 2013). "Connacht Rugby". connachtrugby.ie. Archived from the original on 23 March 2018. Retrieved 17 January 2018.
  7. ^ "Leader shows the way as Connacht edge Reds". 21 September 2012. Archived from the original on 9 December 2012. Retrieved 17 January 2018.
  8. ^ "- PolesineRugby E' ARRIVATO TADGH LEADER". PolesineRugby (in Italian). 28 August 2014. Archived from the original on 23 March 2018. Retrieved 17 January 2018.
  9. ^ "Per il professore l'Eccellenza è da riformare – RUGBY Tadhg Leader, il mediano d'apertura irlandese, potrebbe tornare a disposizione del Badia per cercare di ottenere la salvezza. Nicola Mazzuccato e Joe McDonnell verranno confermati alla guida del Progetto Polesine e della Monti Junior Rovigo". RovigoOggi.it (in Italian). Archived from the original on 23 March 2018. Retrieved 17 January 2018.
  10. ^ Lappen, Evan (29 August 2016). "Lindenwood Heads to England for World Red Bull Uni 7s". rugbytoday.com. Archived from the original on 1 September 2016. Retrieved 17 January 2018.
  11. ^ Kinsella, Murray. "Irishman Leader's path leads him into USA's Major League Rugby". The42. Archived from the original on 15 January 2018. Retrieved 17 January 2018.
  12. ^ "USA Club Rugby Report: St. Louis Royals Reign, Win Men's DIII National Championship; Stephen Duff Named Player of the Match – The Runner Sports". The Runner Sports. 4 June 2017. Archived from the original on 18 June 2017. Retrieved 17 January 2018.
  13. ^ Kinsella, Murray. "Irishman Leader's path leads him into USA's Major League Rugby". The42. Archived from the original on 15 January 2018. Retrieved 17 January 2018.
  14. ^ "SportsNewsIRELAND – SportsNewsIRELAND". Archived from the original on 22 December 2017. Retrieved 17 January 2018.
  15. ^ "Ruddock's under-20s enjoy a marked superiority over Leinster". The Irish Times. Archived from the original on 23 March 2018. Retrieved 17 January 2018.
  16. ^ Ex-Connacht men Leader and O'Toole called into USA Men's Selects squad 13 September 2018.
  17. ^ "Tadhg Leader Is Trying To Make It As An NFL Kicker | Balls.ie".
  18. ^ "USA Eagle Tadhg Leader dreams of NFL kicking job - Rugby World". 16 November 2020.
  19. ^ @TheSpringLeague (2 May 2021). "First look at the #TSLAviators roster at #TSL2021!" (Tweet). Retrieved 3 May 2021 – via Twitter.
  20. ^ "Kolejne wzmocnienia Panthers Wrocław". 29 July 2021. Retrieved 29 July 2021.
  21. ^ "Tiger-Cats sign former rugby player Leader as kicker/punter". TSN. 23 February 2022.