Marietta, Ga.,–Life University standout rugby player Cameron Dolan has signed a contract to play professional rugby with the Northampton Saints, one of 12 English rugby teams that make up the Aviva Premiership.
Dolan, who will soon graduate from Life University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration, was a four‐time All‐American for the Running Eagles and one of a handful of players who was a member of Life’s inaugural undergraduate recruiting class in 2009.
The former USA U20 captain finished his senior season in fitting fashion as the team captured the DI-A national championship this past May. Dolan captained the USA Selects in the Americas Rugby Championship in October, and followed that up with three strong games for the USA in November, starting at No. 8 in all three matches, scoring two tries, and garnering Man of the Match honors in the game against the Maori All Blacks.
His performances over the past few months caught the attention of several top professional clubs.
“It has always been a goal of mine to play professionally, ever since I started playing rugby in high school,” said Dolan. “To be offered a contract by one of the best clubs in England is a real honor, and I look forward to the opportunity to learn, develop and contribute toward Northampton reaching their goals as well.”
Dolan will join USA star Samu Manoa at Northampton, where the former SFGG forward has become hugely popular.
“Northampton is a great club for Cam to continue his rugby development. The coaching staff, the current players, and the atmosphere of success will assist him greatly,” said Life Director of Rugby Dan Payne. “We’re happy for his parents, his teammates and the program. This is a great opportunity. He must now put the work in to make it a great career.
“Cam has worked hard and continued to develop since he first stepped on campus. This will be both a tremendous opportunity and challenge for him. It’s exactly what he needs to help him continue to improve as a player.”
This is the latest piece of good news for a Life program that has won the 2013 DI-A title, won the inaugural USA Rugby college 7s championships, and finished 2nd in the 2013 CRC.
The program has produced a long list of All-Americans and national team players. Dolan is the first student‐athlete from the program to sign a professional contract.
Northampton Director of Rugby Jim Mallinder said in a club statement that he expects Dolan to develop in a professional environment.
“We’ve kept a close eye on Cam for a while and have been impressed by what we’ve seen,” he said. “He’s a player who has a lot of natural talent and the physical attributes it takes to succeed, something he showed during the Autumn Internationals and against the Maori.
“Although the American league is developing all the time it is a big step up to the professional environment of the Aviva Premiership and we’re not expecting Cam to be the finished article immediately.
“It has been sad to see James Craig ruled out for a while with his shoulder injury, but it has also given us the opportunity to bring Cam in and see how he develops over the next few months.”