Despite being born in Ireland, John Quill spent the most successful parts of his career playing in America, representing the USA Eagles at international level. A popular flanker state-side, he’s now retired from the game but certainly earned his place in American rugby union history.
John Quill was born in Youghal, County Cork, Ireland in March 1990 and as a child played Gaelic football, hurling and rugby union. His youth career saw him learning his craft on the rugby field at several Irish amateur sides and he even played for the Munster Academy setup and local team Dolphin RFC.
John Quill’s next career move took him to America, where in 2012 he joined up with Boston RFC and quickly established himself as a key player for the side. After only a year he headed to England and joined the London Irish Academy but persistent injuries meant he didn’t earn a contract. Once he returned from injury John Quill returned to Dolphin RFC and following a string of impressive games was scouted and signed by London Welsh in 2014.
John Quill only played one season with London Welsh before being released, but he did help them gain promotion to the Premiership. Without a club once again, Quill made another dramatic return to America, linking up with amateur team New York Athletic Club RFC in 2015. His abilities were once again highly sought after in the US and he signed professionally for Sacramento Express in 2016, Glendale Raptors in 2018 and finally Rugby United New York where he ended his playing career in 2019.
Despite being born in Ireland and playing for the Irish Schoolboys in 2008, he qualified to play for the United States through his American mother. He made his debut for the Eagles in 2012 in the Autumn Internationals against Russia. In total he earned 37 caps, scored five tries and featured in two World Cups in 2015 and 2019 respectively. In the latter tournament John Quill was infamously sent off for a high tackle on Owen Farrell in America’s opening game defeat against England. Following the Eagles’ World Cup exit he then retired from international rugby union.