Elite Rugby Scholar Interview - Tabo Maree - Arkansas State & NOLA Gold (MLR)
We caught up with Tabo before his rookie year in the Major League Rugby competition to find out a bit about his journey. From South African club and school rugby to US College and now professional contract. Tabo played under coach Blake White at Arkansas State University in Division 1-A on a rugby scholarship for 4 years.
As a school boy, what attracted you to studying and playing rugby in America?
Well in High School we travel all over South Africa for Rugby. So that help me expand my horizons. So when the opportunity came to study in America and rugby I took it mainly because I wanted something new. I want to go to a different country and experience different cultures it has to offer.
How did you find the standard of college rugby compared to what you played at home?
The standard of rugby here is not exactly what I am used to back home in South Africa. Rugby is also in my opinion a culture thing which America has only began adopting recently. I will say the 4 years of being in college I could see how much it has improved from my freshman year to my senior year which is promising.
Did you find balancing studies and the athletic aspect challenging over your 4 years?
I found it to be quite easy it all just comes down to time management. If you invest your time well you can easy get it done. It was every important to get my degree and get a good one. Rugby only last so long and you need a degree, for the life after rugby.
How did you find settling in initially and meeting lots of student athletes from all over the world?
I loved meeting people from all over the world. There was a lot of international student-athletes at my University. So it makes it easy to hang out cause every one is going throw the same thing. Every one helped each other. All the students was very open and respectful of the other culture.
Were there any locations on your travels that stood out for you?
We went to West Point in New York. To play Army in the first round of the playoffs I really enjoyed it . It was a beautiful campus and itâ€™s once's in a life time opportunity.
For aspiring U.S rugby playing students what advice would you offer for them to be successful?
Donâ€™t give up and keep working hard. Can sometimes be frustrating. It can also get hard being away from the family and loves onceâ€™s. Just keep pushing through. If you keep working hard then eventually someone will see you.
Finally, how excited are you to be competing in the MLR this season?
I am so excited for the MLR season. Going in to my rookie year. I want to show what I have and to compete against world class players. Also to learn and better myself for the rugby seasons to come.
We wish Tabo and all the team at NOLA Gold the very best for the upcoming MLR season.