Old Glory has announced that New Zealander Nic Souchon will be joining the team in 2023. The 24-year-old hooker comes from the National Provincial Championship in New Zealand, where he played most recently for Bay of Plenty.

Souchon is a product of the New Zealand rugby system, playing for Hamilton Boys High School and then Lincoln University as an undergraduate and graduate student. In 2018, he made his professional debut with Canterbury in the NPC, and in 2019 he played with Otago and the New Zealand Universities team. In 2020, he moved to Bay of Plenty, before apparently sitting out for a year and rejoining the competition in 2022. Although he's had four seasons in the NPC already, he hasn't actually played very much, with just 13 caps and 339 minutes all told. His peak was in 2019 with Otago, where he had 6 caps, 3 starts, and 212 minutes.

For a number of reasons, this signing is a little confusing. Souchon isn't US-qualified, meaning he will take up a precious foreign player slot on the roster. Usually those spots are reserved for top-quality players who are expected to be starters. However, Old Glory already has a presumed starting hooker taking up a foreign slot in Facundo Gattas. Even if they didn't, a borderline NPC player isn't likely to be at the level that OGDC would expect from their starting hooker. That relegates Souchon to a spot on the bench as a backup, which is not how the team should be using their foreign slots.

It also brings into question two of last year's players whose statuses have yet to be confirmed. A team should usually have four hookers: a starter, a backup on the bench, another backup in case of injury, and a developmental player whose main job is to learn. Gattas is the starter and draftee Jack Manzo is the developmental player. My assumption was that last year's duo of Rob Irimescu and Mo Katz would be re-signed as the two backups, since they fit the bill of being decent enough and US-qualified. With Souchon's signing, it now seems likely that only one of the two returns, if either do.

This is one of those signings where we, the fans, will just have to trust in Syms and the coaching staff. Souchon could turn out just fine, and certainly Syms has the sort of knowledge of the New Zealand system and player pool that I expect him to have scouted this signing properly. Still, it's the least certain I've felt about any of Old Glory's signings so far.


Curious who has been signed and who is leaving? Check out our 2023 Signings Tracker for all the updates!


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