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Amiras and RFCLA Forwards Ready To Tackle The Jackals

Michael 1 2
1 week ago

Rugby Football Club Los Angeles have announced their starting line-up for the match against the Dallas Jackals at Choctaw Stadium, Arlington, Texas, on Friday, May 10, at 5:30 pm PST.

RFCLA held their own against the New England Free Jacks two weeks ago, losing 34-12. The bye week has given RFCLA, 1-6-1, a chance to regroup before going up against the 4-4 Dallas Jackals. RFCLA lost their season opener to the Jackals, 32-29.

Michael Amiras, who will start as blind-side flanker against Dallas, says he and his teammates will have to be ready for the Jackals’ forwards this time around. “They’re going to have their forwards come with mauls and all that,” he said.

Born in Benoni, Hauteng Province, South Africa, on Nov. 22, 1999, Amiras played schoolboy rugby, starting at center and moving to the forwards when he was about 16. He was recruited by the Blue Bulls junior side in Pretoria, South Africa, for the under-21 Curry Cup. His first opportunity to play professional rugby in his home country was cut short by the covid pandemic, as the Blue Bulls weren’t sure their season would go ahead. Andre Tredoux, a a South African coach at Russian rugby club Slava Moscow RFC, contacted him and asked if he’d like to play there. Amiras jumped at the chance. “It was a good experience to live in Russia,” he said. “The rugby was really good for me. I had to grow up fast and learn.”

Amiras was one of several South Africans on the team, of varying levels of experience, and rather than being thrust into a leadership position, Amiras went with the flow and learned from his teammates as they learned from him.

After a year in Russia, he went back to South Africa to play with the Griquas, based in Kimberley. He knew it would be a temporary return home, as he was keen to be close to family, and “see where rugby would lead from there,” he said.

Michael Amiras

Last year, Amiras, who is 6' 4”, 234 lbs., got a call from RFCLA head coach Steve Brett and signed a three-year deal.

“We have a really talented group, a lot of big rugby brains, the team culture is good,” he said of his new team. “It’s just small stuff we need to sort out. When we click on the field, I think we’ll be a really dangerous team.”

Amiras led some key plays against the New England Free Jacks. “We had some big runs,” he said. “That was what we wanted to do. We wanted to express ourselves on the field and let the talent do what they can do.”

“We’ve been working hard on collaboration and we have a lot of stuff in our arsenal,” he added.

Amiras hopes RFCLA and Major League Rugby can be models for rugby all over the world. “In Russia it’s still a growing sport,” he said. “But it’s growing faster here.”

RFCLA has made some changes to their starting XV this week: Alex Maughan replaces Conor Young at tighthead prop (No. 3); Ben Mitchell comes in at lock (No. 4) and Jason Damm moves to No. 8, replacing Semi Kunatani, who is serving a yellow card suspension; Theo Vukasinovic replaces Reegan O’Gorman at lock (No. 5); Dan Hollinshead returns to fly-half as Matt Anticev sits out this week. Jack Shaw replaces Rory Van Vugt at blind side wing (No. 11); Jason Emery is back at inside center and James Stokes replaces Seth Purdey at outside center (No. 13) and Andrew Coe returns on the wing (No. 14).

RFCLA’s starting lineup for May 10, 2024, against the Dallas Jackals:

1. Dane Zander (Prop)

2. Ben Strang (Hooker)

3. Alex Maughan (Prop)

4. Ben Mitchell (Lock)

5. Theo Vukasinovic (Lock)

6. Mike Amiras (Flanker)

7. Matt Heaton (Flanker/Vice Captain)

8. Jason Damm (No.8)

9. Niall Saunders (Scrum Half/Captain)

10. Dan Hollinshead (Fly Half)

11. Jack Shaw (Wing)

12. Jason Emery (Inside Center)

13. James Stokes (Outside Center)

14. Jack Shaw (Wing)

15. Austin White (Full-back)

Reserves:

16. Bruce Kauika-Peterson (Hooker)

17. Wilton Rebolo (Prop)

18. Conor Young (Prop)

19. Max Katjijeko (Lock)

20. Bruce Yun (Hooker/Flanker)

21. Tas Smith (Scrum-half)

22. Jordan Chait (Back)

23. Seth Purdey (Back)

Friday’s match will be streamed live on Bally Sports SoCal and The Rugby Network, at 5:30 pm (PST).

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