As Told By Two Champions – Mitch Jacobson & Ben LeSage

Written by Joe Harvey #MLR2023

— Major League Rugby (@usmlr) April 16, 2023

While performances on the field tell one side of the story, all of the work helped to create unity among the group as the season got underway.
Unity was formed through competition within the squad throughout the season and developing a deep link to the community, which has taken them to heart.

“The buy-in from all the players and staff into the culture,” Jacobson said. “Things weren’t super serious for a lot of the time, but when we needed to dial it in and get something out of a session, I thought we did that.

“I think we really grew throughout the season, and the boys really seemed to enjoy each other’s company off the field, which is always key.”
Now in his preparation for Canada’s summer tour of Tonga, LeSage has nothing but fond memories of the 2023 MLR season.

Into his fourth season of professional rugby in North America, it is the center’s first title. An integral part of the effort, like Jacobson, the 27-year-old believed the bond created in Massachusetts sent the team to new heights.

“I think we are all competitive individuals, and that is part of why we play the sport,” LeSage said, “it is not game in, game out. It is to be a part of successful teams, successful seasons, and successful organizations.

“Winning is what makes rugby fun. Maybe as good or bad as that is to say. Being part of a winning culture this year, it is the most fun I have had playing rugby, ever.

“I learned a lot being in that type of environment. It was really rewarding, really special, and a good way to put a cap on what was an amazing group of human beings.

“The players, the staff, and the coaches know it won’t be 100 percent the same next year. It was an amazing way to put a cap on the season and remember everything in a fond way.”

Watch the New England Free Jacks’ historic season unfold in the face episode docuseries “Proven” on The Rugby Network.

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