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RFCLA Announce Team for Sunday's Showdown in Chicago

April 19, 2024 - Major League Rugby (MLR)
Rugby FC Los Angeles News Release

RFCLA have announced their starting line-up for the match against the Chicago Hounds on April 21, 2024, 6 pm local time (3pm Pacific Time) at SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview, Illinois.

RFCLA are eager to bounce back in this Major League Rugby's (MLR) Western Conference following their tough loss against the Western Conference leaders, Seattle Seawolves.

LA, with 11 points and a 1-4-1 record, only trail the Utah Warriors by three points and the Dallas Jackals by 8, RFCLA have plenty to play for with 10 matches left in the season.

Without Matt Heaton again - the seasoned flanker is helping his wife through the birth of their child - loosehead prop Dane Zander (No. 1) knows he and his teammates in the scrum will need to maintain discipline on their own.

"We've been giving away silly penalties we can control," Zander said. "We have to make sure we're squeaky clean."

Zander, originally from Australia, said the RFCLA pack has been gelling nicely. "What I'm most proud of is that we've connected really well as a front row group." RFCLA's defense in mauls in recent weeks has been particularly impressive, he added.

On offense, however, too many of those mauls - and rucks - have resulted in penalties, which is something the Club continues to work on. "We just get overexcited when we should be leaving the breakdowns when there's no clear option to the pill," Zander said.

In the backfield, RFCLA has made some changes for rotation reasons. Matt Anticev comes in for Dan Hollinshead at fly half (No. 10) and Hollinshead moves to inside center (No. 12).

RFCLA's kicking game has been crucial both defensively and offensively, and Hollinshead has noted that he is surrounded by good kickers on both sides of the back line.

The Chicago Hounds, now playing in their second MLR season, have developed a reputation as an aggressive and physical side. They lost to the Seawolves 34-26 on March 31, and tied with Old Glory DC earlier this season by the same score as RFCLA, 22-22.

Two Hounds, hooker Dylan Fawsitt and scrum-half Jason Higgins, were named to MLR's Week Seven First XV team. Several RFCLA players have made the selection this season - RFCLA scrum half Niall Saunders has been named twice - but none were named last week.

Zander said RFCLA fans - and the Hounds - should look out for RFCLA hooker Ben Strang. "Ben's been great," Zander said. "He's a young, enthusiastic player - explosive." Another forward to watch is lock Reegan O'Gorman, who brings a wealth of experience to the pack. "He's really good with his aggression all around the field," said Zander.

And the Hounds? "I don't think we're intimidated by any of their players," Zander said.

RFCLA has made some changes to their starting XV this week: Matt Anticev comes in for Dan Hollinshead at fly-half (No. 10) as Hollinshead replaces Jason Emery at inside center (No. 12) ; Ben Strang comes in for Bruce Kaukia-Peterson at hooker (No. 2); Brooklyn Hardaker makes his RFCLA debut at wing (No. 14) instead of Jack Shaw and Sam Walsh replaces Austin White at full-back (No. 15) Wing Andrew Coe is still serving a suspension. Emery and Heaton sit this one out.

RFCLA's starting lineup for April 21, 2024, against the Chicago Hounds

Dane Zander (Prop)

Ben Strang (Hooker)

Conor Young (Prop)

Reegan O'Gorman (Lock)

Theo Vukasinovic (Lock)

Semi Kunatani (Flanker)

Max Katjijeko (Flanker)

Jason Damm (No.8)

Niall Saunders (Scrum Half)

Matt Anticev (Fly Half)

Rory Van Vugt (Wing)

Dan Hollinshead (Inside Center)

Seth Purdey (Outside Center)

Jack Shaw (Wing)

Austin White (Full-back)


16. Bruce Kauika-Peterson (Hooker) 17. Lincoln Sii (Prop) 18. Alex Maughan (Prop) 19. Liam Antrobus (Lock) 20. Mike Amiras (Flanker) 21. Tas Smith (Scrum-half) 22. Jack Shaw 23. Austin White (Fly half)

RFCLA's match on Sunday, April 21, will be streamed LIVE (3pm PST; 6 pm EST) on The Rugby Network and on Bally Sports West

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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.

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