The second leg of the ‘Battle of New England’ takes place on Friday evening when the Free Jacks take on the Independents. After braving the frost on Saturday afternoon, the two sides will happily move inside the all-weather bubble at Union Point Sports Complex for the rematch.
Six changes have been made to the Free Jacks run-on side, three in the forwards. Kyle Ciquera is given a unique opportunity. Having started at tighthead prop for the Independents, he switches sides to play loosehead in place of Tolu Fahamokioa. Ronan McCusker rotates in for Conor Kindregan at lock with Evan Geist getting a look on the flank in place of Zack Stryffeler.
A notable selection in the backs sees Timothee Guillimin, normally a flyhalf, selected at scrumhalf. New arrivals Sam Beard and Liam Steel jump straight into the midfield with Poasa Waqanibau pushing out to the wing and Mitch Wilson at fullback.
There are five changes to the Independents, just two up front. Sean Moran fills the gap left by Ciquera’s jersey swap, with Sean McElhinney named on the flank after trialing with the Free Jacks in the spring exhibition campaign. Devin Ibanez is named on the bench after being a late withdrawal last week.
Haishim Soufan takes over from Andrew Menton at flyhalf with George Kokkalis promoted to the starting lineup at outside center in place of Jared Collinson. Brian Patterson shifts to fullback with Karl Rempe, another spring Free Jack, named on the left wing.
Kickoff is set for 8:30pm local time, 5:30pm Pacific. There is no live broadcast planned.
NEW ENGLAND FREE JACKS
1 Kyle Ciquera, 2 Sean McNulty, 3 Kensuke Hatakeyama, 4 Jackson Thiebes, 5 Ronan McCusker, 6 Evan Geist, 7 Owen Hundt, 8 Naulia Dawai, 9 Timothée Guillimin, 10 Tadhg Leader, 11 Poasa Waqanibau, 12 Sam Beard, 13 Liam Steel, 14 Deion Mikesell, 15 Mitch Wilson
Replacements: 16 Diego Maquieira, 17 Steven Hinshaw, 18 Simon Courcoul, 19 Conor Kindregan, 20 Zack Stryffeler, 21 Ollie Engelhart, 22 Peceli Rinakama, 23 Danny Collins
NEW ENGLAND INDEPENDENTS
1 Dave McKenna, 2 Blades Shields, 3 Sean Moran, 4 Tim O’Connor, 5 Cody Davidowicz, 6 Sean McElhinney, 7 Ryan Hargraves, 8 Cam Davidowicz, 9 Ian Luciano, 10 Haishim Soufan, 11 Karl Rempe, 12 Adnan Kawuma, 13 George Kokkalis, 14 Andrew Marshall, 15 Brian Patterson
Replacements: 16 Everett Sullivan, 17 Mike Weis, 18 TJ Downey, 19 Billy Coughlin, 20 Devin Ibanez, 21 Liudas Jagminas, 22 David Buchanan, 23 Nicholas Ducey
Date: Friday, January 24
Venue: Union Point Sports Complex, Weymouth
Kickoff: 20:30 local (17:30 Pacific)