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 Chicago Hounds

Offense Continues to Impress in Week Eight Win

April 24, 2024 - Major League Rugby (MLR)
Chicago Hounds News Release

CHICAGO, IL - The Hounds moved to 4-3-1 on Sunday evening after beating Rugby Football Club Los Angeles, 54-31. This marked the third win in a row for Chicago's professional rugby franchise, and the second consecutive game scoring over 50 points. The Hounds are the only team in Major League Rugby to score over 50 points in back-to-back games.

Wing Nate Augspurger led all scorers on the day with 17 points while versatile forward Ben Landry added two tries and 12 points of his own. Hooker Dylan Fawsitt scored his sixth try in three games, rookie Noah Brown added his third score of the season to the stat sheet, and Mason Flesch scored his second try of the season as well. Flyhalf Adriaan Carelse added eight points from the kicking tee while Caolan Dooley contributed two points via a successful conversion attempt.

Augspurger scored his first try of the day in the opening two minutes of the match. LA mishandled the opening kickoff and gave the Hounds a great attacking opportunity from the opening whistle. Chicago worked the ball wide off the ensuing scrum and rookie Noah Brown did well to eat up a chunk of meters. After multiple phases attacking through the forwards, Chicago had a clear overlap on the left wing. Scrumhalf Jason Higgins found Carelse, who connected with fullback Luke Carty. Carty pinned the lone LA defender and sent Augspurger through for a try with a well-timed pass. The kick was no good.

Ben Landry added his first try of the season in the 12th minute, although it wasn't initially called during the game. The TMO confirmed the seven-pointer, however, and it gave Chicago a 12-0 lead. Moments later, Fawsitt scored his sixth try of the season, dotting down after connecting with No. 8 Conall Boomer on a beautiful offload. Carelse added the points-after and the Hounds went into the first-half water break with a resounding 19-0 lead.

LA would bounce back after the quick break, however. In the span of eight minutes, LA wing Rory van Vugt and flyhalf Dan Hollinshead both crossed over for tries. Hollinshead hit one conversion to bring the scoreline 19-12, suddenly looking like LA might make a game out of it. Landry added his second score of the day a few minutes before halftime, however. With the successful conversion, the score became 26-12 heading into the sheds.

It was a back-and-forth opening sequence in the second half, with the score remaining 26-12 for the first 15 minutes. But LA applied even more pressure in the 54th minute via a seven-point try from scrumhalf Niall Saunders. The ensuing passage was arguably the turning point in the game.

In the 58th minute, RFC LA substitute Liam Antrobus was called for a penalty at the breakdown. It wasn't a guaranteed make from the kicking tee, but it was well within Carelse's range, and would have extended the lead to two scores. Chicago opted to kick for the corner, though. They nailed the set piece but LA knocked the ball on after the lineout. This led to a Chicago-put in at the scrum. A perfectly executed play off of the scrum led to a Nate Augspurger seven-pointer, extending the lead to 33-12.

Noah Brown spotted a lot of empty space in the LA backfield a few moments later. He called for a box kick from scrumhalf Nick McCarthy. A perfectly-weighted kick, and an insane display of Brown's speed in comparison to other MLR players, resulted in the former-Hoosier falling on the ball for his third score of the campaign. Carelse added the conversion attempt, making the score 40-12.

Before it was all said and done, Canadian forward Mason Flesch would add another Hounds' score, his second try of the season. Additionally, just moments before the final whistle, Augspurger touched down his third try of the day and fourth score of the season.

The Hounds will enjoy their first bye week of the 2024 Major League Rugby season before traveling to New England for one of the premier matchups of the year in Week 10.

Chicago Hounds: 54

Tries: Nate Augspurger (x3), Ben Landry (x2), Dylan Fawsitt, Noah Brown, Mason Flesch

Conversions: Adriaan Carelse (4/5), Caolan Dooley (1/1)

RFC LA: 31

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