Sports stats

 Chicago Hounds

Hounds Seek Third Win a Row

April 19, 2024 - Major League Rugby (MLR)
Chicago Hounds News Release

CHICAGO, IL - Riding high off of a two-game winning streak, Chicago Hounds' big dog, Sam Harris, named his 23-man roster for week eight of the 2024 Major League Rugby season. The Hounds host RFC Los Angeles at SeatGeek Stadium this Sunday, April 21st, with kickoff slated for 5 PM CT.

The Forwards:

Loosehead prop Charlie Abel and hooker Dylan Fawsitt will make their third consecutive start working together in the front row. Fawsitt has been on a tear as of recently, scoring five tries over the last two games, and capping off his week seven hat trick with an MLR Player of the Week accolade. The Chicago set piece has been on point the last couple of weeks and fans should be hopeful that dominance continues moving forward. Tighthead prop Ignacio Peculo is back in the starting lineup after appearing from reserve duty last week.

South African prospect Janus Venter seems to have overtaken Guillermo Pujadas as the preferred backup hooker. Venter keeps his spot on the bench and could earn his third MLR cap in as many weeks. Fred Apulu and Paddy Ryan round out the front row subs for this week.

The first-choice second row pairing of Mason Flesch and James Scott is back in the lineup this week. The two players were rested against Carolina after playing significant minutes through the opening weeks of the campaign. Flesch is enjoying somewhat of a breakout season and has showed his versatility throughout the year, lining up in both the second and back rows. George Merrick moves to the bench and will look to make an impact in the second half.

After starting in the second row against the Anthem last week, Ben Landry moves to blindside flanker for week eight's contest against Los Angeles. This will be the third consecutive start for the MLR veteran after making his Hounds debut off the bench in week five.

Mac Jones retains the starting openside flanker positon after another strong showing in week seven against Carolina. The flanker completed all 12 of his tackle attempts, including sticking one dominant tackle. On offense, he was the first or second arrival at the ruck 12 times as well. On the season, Jones completed 75 of his 85 tackle attempts.

Irishman Conall Boomer is recalled to the lineup after missing out on selection last weekend. The versatile backrow player is set to earn his fifth cap of the season and third start. He takes the place of vice-captain Luke White, who slides to the bench in the No. 20 shirt.

The Backs:

Jason Higgins is set for his second start in a Hounds' shirt. The Irish-born, capped-Canadian international earned his first start last weekend and was named to MLR's First XV for his impressive three-try performance. He now has 15 tries over the course of his MLR career. Nick McCarthy will look to make an appearance from the bench.

Higgins will combine with flyhalf Adriaan Carelse once again. Carelse has been one of the more consistent players for Chicago this season and has injected life into the offense after taking over at flyhalf in Week 5. On the season, he's hit 15 of his 22 conversion attempts and six out of his seven penalty attempts, scoring 48 total points.

Nate Augspurger shifts back to the left wing for week eight. The key offseason acquisition scored his first Hounds' try in last week's win and fans should be hopeful he continues to add tries to his stat sheet. Rookie Noah Brown is back in the starting lineup after appearing off the bench against Carolina in week seven. The wing showed in week five that he has an game-breaking ability and is a threat to score nearly every time he touches the ball.

The centers go unchanged from last week. Captain Billy Meakes will combine with Bryce Campbell once more after a steady showing against the Anthem. The outside center gig has been a hotly contested position battle since preseason training camp and even though we are eight weeks into the season, Chicago still hasn't settled on their first-choice No. 13. Mark O'Keeffe looked like the preferred choice early on in the season, but Campbell has seemingly overtaken him on the depth chart the last few weeks. Cassh Maluia has thrown his hat into the mix at times as well.

Luke Carty makes an appearance in the roster for the first time since week five against the Seattle Seawolves. As was the case in that game, the USA-flyhalf will slot in at fullback for Chicago once again. A pair of versatile backs in Caolan Dooley and Michael Baska round out the 23-man roster for Chicago this week. Dooley scored the first points of his MLR career against the Anthem, adding two conversions late in the game.

Fans interested in purchasing tickets for this weekend's game can buy them here.

Numbers Around the Roster:

The Hounds averaged 19.25 points per game during weeks one through four. Prior to the week five matchup against the Seawolves, the staff switched Adriaan Carelse to flyhalf. Since making that switch, the Hounds are now averaging 41 points per game.

In the last 120 minutes of on-field action, the Hounds are outscoring their opponents 92-33. Chicago finished week six on a 33-7 scoring run before beating Carolina 59-26 last week.

Despite scoring nine tries last week, no Chicago Hound finished with more than 70 meters on the ground. Nate Augspurger led Chicago with 70 meters on seven carries while Fawsitt finished the day with 60 meters on his ten carries.

Week Eight Roster: vs Carolina Anthem:

Charlie Abel (51)

Dylan Fawsitt (87)

Ignacio Peculo (7)

Mason Flesch (33)

James Scott (6)

Ben Landry (42)

Maclean Jones (43)

Conall Boomer (4)

Jason Higgins (37)

Adriaan Carelse (44)

Nate Augspurger (64)

Billy Meakes © (48)

Bryce Campbell (57)

Noah Brown (5)

Luke Carty (36)

Janus Venter (2)

Fred Apulu (11)

Paddy Ryan (58)

George Merrick (4)

Luke White (71)

Nick McCarthy (6)

Caolan Dooley (3)

Michael Baska (56)

Number denotes Major League Rugby caps as it currently stands*

How to Watch:

Fans in-market can watch on Marquee Plus, the streaming service for Marquee Sports Network.

Fans out-of-market can stream the game live on the Rugby Network.

International fans can also stream the game live on the Rugby Network.

• Discuss this story on the Major League Rugby message board...

Major League Rugby Stories from April 19, 2024

The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.

Other Recent Chicago Hounds Stories

Sports Statistics from the Stats Crew
OurSports Central