Oak Bay rugby favourite Lachlan “Lockie” Kratz, 21, has snagged a major league contract with the NOLA Gold in New Orleans.
Kratz went to Oak Bay High and was studying business at UVic, when he started putting feelers out to try out for professional teams.
“There wasn’t a lot of rugby happening at UVic and I really wanted to get some games down. My dream has always been to go professional, so I reached out to a lot of people who could help me out,” Kratz said.
New Orleans’ Gold was interested and invited Kratz to come try out. He went for a couple of team training sessions, and they decided to offer him a contract.
“In his short time so far with us, his skills, work rate and willingness to learn has been very impressive. Lockie has a really big future ahead of him,” said general manager Ryan Fitzgerald. Kratz, who plays inside or outside centre, is the youngest player on the roster.
The pre-season was already over, and Kratz was signed in time to watch the Gold’s second came of the season — a win against New York – and has been training with the team every day since. His first pro game will be against the Austin Gilgronis on April 10.
Kratz is planning to finish the current semester online, and will be back at UVic in the fall. But he’s hoping he’ll get offered a second season with NOLA Gold, so he might have to leave that semester early too.
The league has COVID-19 protocols in place, including twice-weekly tests and limiting players from going into the city. A lot of teammates have already been vaccinated; Kratz has an appointment for April 9.
“Big thanks to Doug Tate and Rick Farrally of UVic,” Kratz said of his coaches who are both in their final season with the UVic Vikes.