Zim rugby ace Aaron Juma enters Major League Rugby Draft

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Highly rated former Zimbabwe rugby youth international Aaron Juma has entered the 2023 Major League Rugby (MLR) Draft scheduled for August 17, as he takes a big step towards fulfilling his dream of playing professional rugby.

The gifted loose forward has over the last couple of years established himself as one of the top players on the US collegiate rugby curcuit with a string of consistent performances for Wheeling University is a private Roman Catholic university in West Virginia.

Juma has also gained valuable experience from representing the country and was part of the Goshawks squad which featured in the Currie Cup First Division early this year.

Now he wants to take the next step in his fledgling career by earning a chance to compete in the MLR, which is the highest rugby competition in North America.

The former Falcon College pupil will be hoping to be picked by some of the leading franchise teams during the fourth edition of the MLR Collegiate Draft, which aims to provide a structure for managing the transfer of men’s rugby players from college to Major League Rugby in the USA and Canada.

The draft consists of three rounds of selections, with 39 total players being selected.

Aaron Juma in action for the Zimbabwe Goshawks in April

Juma, only the third player in Wheeling University Rugby history to declare for the draft, had an impressive season as a consistent scorer in both 15’s and 7’s.

He led the team in tries during the fall season and received numerous accolades, including being named an NCR DI All-American.

Juma’s rise has caught the attention of many, and his potential to excel at the professional level has been recognised.

He was named the top scorer for the Great Lakes Thunderbirds All-Star Team and a member of the National Collegiate Rugby (NCR) Shiel Challenge All-Tournament team.

Juma followed that honor with being named an NCR DI All-American, becoming just the second freshman in program history to win the honor.

He will be hoping to cap that impressive run by earning a professional contract during the 2023 MLR Draft which would see him emulating his compatriot Tinashe Muchena.

The 25-year-old Muchena, who now plays for the Chicago Hounds in the MLR was the first Zimbabwean ever selected in the MLR Collegiate draft after being picked the Houston SaberCats two years ago.

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