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Local star named for RFCLA in San Diego showdown

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3 months ago

Rugby Football Club Los Angeles (RFCLA) have announced the starting line-up for their third match of the 2024 Major League Rugby season against The San Diego Legion on March 16 at 7 p.m. Pacific Time, at Snapdragon Stadium in San Diego.

Coming off a 32-29 loss to the Dallas Jackals at home at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California, RFCLA will be looking for their first win of 2024. They lost to the Houston SaberCats 27-12 in the season opener, also at home.

The San Diego Legion finished top of the MLR standings, with a 15-1 record, and lost to the New England Free Jacks in the championship final, are the perfect challenge for cross town rivals, RFCLA.

Ahead of Saturday’s match, RFCLA Coach Steve Brett said the team needs to focus on improving its first phase play — plays developing straight out of a set piece like a lineout or scrum — and also maintain positive momentum throughout the match. “We make little minor errors,” he said. “We score seven points and lose the kickoff and they score. You’ve done a positive that turns into a negative and then a double negative.” These momentum shifts, Brett says, are the team’s main weakness.

As part of the Club’s quest for long sustained success, RFCLA continued focus on Califiornian talent has been a priority, with reserve prop Lincoln Sii suiting up for L.A. in 2024. Sii , 26, said he’s looking forward to taking on San Diego, where he spent most of his childhood before moving north to Temecula for his senior year in high school. A football offensive lineman, Sii started to play rugby as a senior in Temecula, and went on to play at Grand Canyon University before being recruited by Rugby ATL. An electrical engineering graduate, he wasn’t immediately sure about taking the chance on pro rugby.

“I was at a crossroads,” he recalled,” I thought maybe I should go find a job in engineering.” But his family and relatives persuaded him. “Maybe you should try out for rugby,” they told him. “It’s not an everyday opportunity that everyone gets,” Sii figured. “At least if I fail, I tried.”

Lincoln Sii
Lincoln Sii on the charge for GCU. Photo: Online

Four years later, it’s clear he’s succeeded. He has 14 caps, and said he’s learned a lot from some of the more experienced players, some of them who hail from other countries, even when he hasn’t been on the starting roster. He has also played for the second US national side, the Falcons, against Uruguay and Argentina. Born in Japan to Samoan and Tongan parents (his father was in the US Navy), he considers himself primarily American and if selected, wants to continue to represent the US in international rugby.

Sii moved from Atlanta to Los Angeles in August 2023, and during the off-season while training, continued the community-building tradition that Rugby Atl had instilled in him by commuting down to his former home of Temecula and coaching a high school rugby team there.

Sii, who is 6’0” and weighs 270 lbs., is ready for this Saturday’s match but said he’s concerned about San Diego’s scrum size. “They’re pretty big boys, with a lot of experience and physicality. The whole roster is pretty stacked."

“It’s going to be a pretty good matchup,” he said.

RFCLA has some new players in their starting 15 this week: Sam Walsh at wing (No. 15), Reagan O’Gorman at lock (No. 5), Bruce Kaukia-Peterson at hooker (No. 2) and Alex Maughan at loosehead prop (No. 1).

RFCLA’s starting lineup for March 16 against the San Diego Legion

1. Alex Maughan (Prop)

2. Bruce Kaukia-Peterson (Hooker)

3. Conor Young (Prop)

4. Jurie Van Vuuren (Lock)

5. Reagan O’Gorman (Lock)

6. Semi Kunatani (Flanker)

7. Matt Heaton (Flanker)

8. Jason Damm (No.8)

9. Niall Saunders (Scrum Half)

10. Dan Hollinshead (Fly Half)

11. Jack Shaw (Wing)

12. Jason Emery (Inside Center)

13. James Stokes (Outside Center)

14. Andrew Coe (Wing)

15. Sam Walsh (Full Back)

Reserves

16. Ben Strang (Hooker)

17. Lincoln Sii (Prop) - Featured.

18. Dane Zander (Prop)

19. Max Katjijeko (Flanker)

20. Michael Amiras (Lock)

21. Tas Smith (Scrum half)

22. Seth Purdey (Center)

23. Austin White (Full back)

RFCLA’s match on Saturday, March 16, will be streamed LIVE starting at 7:00 pm (local) on Bally Sports West and The Rugby Network

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