FREE JACKS ANNOUNCE ROSTER TO FACE THE UTAH WARRIORS
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Head Coach Josh Smith has announced the Free Jacks 23-player roster for this Sunday’s clash with San Diego Legion.
The Free Jacks will travel to Torero Stadium, San Diego, to face the 2019 season’s championship runner ups, who currently sit atop the western division at 2-0.
The Free Jacks will look build on their first two games in Major League Rugby, and have made 5 changes from last week’s match against the Utah Warriors.
At Loose Head prop, Tolu Fahamokioa makes his first appearance for the New England Free Jacks in the front row. Next to him, Sean McNulty will make his third straight appearance at Hooker, while Donald Brighhouse will again feature in the front row after a stellar work horse performance last weekend.
Captain Josh Larsen and Jackson Thiebes earn repeat appearances at 4 and 5 spots respectively, where they’ll continue to provide a strong foundation for both phases of the set piece. Conor Kindregan will make his first start of the season at blind side flanker, after coming off the bench last week to provide some strong tackles on defense. His introduction into the First XV will push last week’s starter Naulia Dawai into number 8, while Zach Stryffeler returns in the number 6 jersey at open side flanker.
John Poland maintains his steady presence at scrumhalf, and will pair with Tim Guillimin at Fly-Half. The playmaking duo will look to direct the Free Jacks attack that so far has been dangerous at times and one of the highest scoring in the league (33.5 PPG avg).
Deion Mikesell, scorer of two tries last week against Utah, will be making his second start of the season at Left Wing, where he’s continued to be a reliable threat on the outside Sam Beard is again selected at inside center and will this week combine with Posa Waqanibau who moves into the 13 jersey from the right wing. The two will look to create space for the offense against the league’s best defense from 2019.
Rounding out the back three, local kid Danny Collins (Abbington, MA) will get his first start of the season at right wing. Mitch Wilson fills in at fullback and will look to extend his scoring streak to three games in a row, after standout performances in the first two contests.
Three players will make their MLR debut on Sunday as reserves. Evan Geist (back-row) Oliver Engelhart (scrumhalf) and Christian Adams (wing), will run out for the first time in MLR against the Legion. Steven Hinshaw, Simon Courcoul, Quentin Newcomer, Peceli Rinakama, and Brad Hemopo will be returning to provide the team with some depth across the board.
The full team roster can be seen below:
- Tolu Fahamokioa
- Sean McNulty
- Donald Brighouse
- Josh Larsen
- Jackson Thiebes
- Conor Kindregan
- Zack Stryffeler
- Naulia Dawai
- John Poland
- Tim Guillimin
- Deion Mikesell
- Sam Beard
- Posa Waqanibau
- Danny Collins
- Mitch Wilson
- Steven Hinshaw
- Simon Courcoul
- Quentin Newcomer
- Bradley Hemopo
- Evan Geist*
- Oliver Engelhart*
- Peceli Rinakama
- Christian Adams*
Unavailable for selection this week:
- Anthony Purpura – Upper Body – Week to week
- Tadhg Leader – Upper Body – Day to day
- Liam Steel – Upper Body – Day to day
- Kensuke Hatakeyama – Lower Body – Day to day
- Beaudein Waaka – Upper Body – Day to day