2021 Major League Dream XV: Robshaw, Giteau and Ellis

2021 Major League Dream XV: Robshaw, Giteau and Ellis

America's top flight rugby competition returns this weekend with a full house of fixtures.

A year after the competition was brought to an abrupt end, Major League Rugby returns in full force in 2021. 

All the action can be followed on the Ultimate Rugby App with play by play updates. 

Subscribe to the league and see all the fixtures here and if you don't already have the Ultimate Rugby App, click here to download.

We take a look at the stars of the competition by picking our Dream Team ahead of Round One.

1. Jamie Mackintosh (Austin Gilgronis)

A former All Black kicks off our team with Jamie Mackintosh making the move to Austin to feature for the Austin Gilgronis this season. Tendai Mtawarrira would have been a shoe-in for the role but the former Springboks' time in the MLR has been cut short with the World Cup winner now retired. Mackintosh has a storied career which saw him star for the Highlanders in Super Rugby before enjoying stints in France with Pau and Montpellier, at 36 he brings a ton of experience to the league but make no mistake he will still be a threat in the set pieces. Also keep an eye on former Reds' loosehead prop Jean-Pierre Smith who could cause mayhem with his twin brother Ruan at the LA Giltinis.

2. Dylan Fawsitt - Rugby United New York

The likes of former Lions and Sharks hooker Robbie Coetzee and Waratahs' rake Hugh Roach will bring their Super Rugby experience to the competition but USA's own Dylan Fawsitt is the standout #2 in the competition.

The American has 15 test caps to his name and will captain his club this season. 

Coetzee, Robbie Fawsitt, Dylan

3. Ruan Smith - LA Giltinis

35-year-old and 78 Japanese test cap prop Kensuke Hatakeyama was well in the running for a place in the squad, however, Smith is arguably the finest tighthead in the competition.

Smith was a cornerstone of the Reds' scrum along with his twin brother JP, who is also in LA for the season. A tireless work ethic and strong scrummaging will make LA a hard team to put away.

4. Isaac Ross - Austin Gilgronis

Another former All Black slots into our team with Issac Ross making the trip North to Austin after nearly a decade in Japan. 

The 8 test veteran has played for the likes of Canterbury, Crusaders, Highlanders, Chiefs, NTT Communications Shining Arcs and Tasman throughout his career and at the age of 36 he will certainly still bring some power and aggression to the Austin pack.

5. Dave Dennis - LA Giltinis

The Giltinis don't just have power in the front row but they look to have built a strong platform to attack from with former Wallaby and Exeter Chief Dave Dennis joining the new club.

Dennis enjoyed an incredible stint at the Chiefs after an 18-test career Down Under with the Wallaby also winning a Super Rugby title with the Waratahs.

Former London Irish lock Sebastian de Chaves is also set to feature in the competition for the Austin Gilgronis.

6. Chris Robshaw - San Diego Legion

The former England and Harlequins captain is one of the biggest signings this season and his work at the breakdown, leadership and experience sees him walk into our team.

At the age of 34, Robshaw still has plenty to offer San Diego. The 66 test cap international beats the likes of Callum Gibbins (Old Glory DC), Tera Mtembu (Free Jacks) and Angus Cottrell (LA Giltinis) to a place in our side.

7. Hanco Germishuys- Rugby United New York

While the league is quickly attracting international superstars, there is still some of America's best in turning out for their respective clubs. USA Eagles flanker Hanco Germishuys is comfortably one of the best players in the league and a superstar in his own right. A gifted runner with ball in hand and a hard-hitting defender, Germishuys is one of the biggest threats on the side of the scrum.

8. Cam Dolan - NOLA Gold

Another homegrown talent features in our Dream Team and it's a name Northampton Saints and Cardiff Blues fans will know well in Cam Dolan.

A well-rounded no.8, Cam Dolan is superb on either side of the ball and features in our team ahead of the likes of Jack Ram and Reinhardt Hattingh.

9. Andy Ellis - Rugby United New York

Rugby United New York will have World Cup-winning scrum-half Andy Ellis marshalling their troops around as the 37-year-old tackles America's top division. 

Ellis hinted that his career was over following the cancellation of the Japanese Top League but the former Crusader is back for one more season.

10. Matt Giteau - LA Giltinis

The LA Giltinis have a number of Australians in their squad for the 2021 season with former Wallabies playmaker Matt Giteau putting retirement off one more year as he looks to inspire the new Major League club.

Giteau needs no further introduction to the rugby world. A legend in France, Australia and Japan, Giteau will put his 103 test caps worth of experience to good use in America.

A notable mention for Stormers and Sharks utility back Joe Pietersen who guided San Diego Legion to the last Grand Final of the Major League season in 2019.

11. Cecil Afrika - San Diego Legion

A superstar on the sevens circuit, Cecil Afrika is set to take another crack at 15s with San Diego after stints with the Cheetahs back in South Africa.

Blessed with pace and skill on the ball, Afrika may well feature at fullback or even flyhalf for the Legion but we have found a place for him in our side on the wing.

He beats fellow countryman Bjorn Basson who is also at the Legion for the 2021 season while Austin have the powerful Frank Halai on their books.

12. Bautista Ezcurra - Rugby ATL

The LA Giltinis' backline is packed with Australian stars with Billy Meakes set to partner Adam Ashley-Cooper in the midfield but we have picked former Jaguares' centre Bautista Ezcurra as our #12.

At 25, Ezcurra still has a large part of his career ahead of him but following the Jaguares' exit from Super Rugby, Rugby ATL pounced to sign up the five test cap international.


13. Adam Ashley-Cooper - LA Giltinis

The Wallabies' Mr Fix it joins his mate Matt Giteau in LA for the 2021 season with pair bringing over 200 test caps worth of experience with them.

Ashley-Cooper was a member of the Wallabies 2019 Rugby World Cup squad. At the age of 36, some of the pace will have gone from Ashley-Cooper's legs but his skillset and experience will certainly make him a stars of the competition. 

With Giteau and Ashley-Cooper on LA's books, they will be a threat in the competition despite this being their first season in the Major League.

14. DTH van der Merwe - LA Giltinis 

A try scoring machine. If Giteau and Ashley-Cooper are creating chances, DTH van der Merwe will be finishing them. 

Having finished up his second stint at the Glasgow Warriors, van der Merwe arrives at LA to add to the impressive backline pieced together for their debut season.

The Canadian international has scored 38 tries in 61 tests.

15. Joaquín Tuculet - Toronto Arrows

With the likes of Ben Foden (Rugby United New York), Glenn Bryce (LA Giltinis) and  Beaudein Waaka (New England Free Jacks) in the league, the fullback position was hotly contested.

However, he have picked the incredibly skilled and experienced Los Pumas fullback Joaquin Tuculet who represented his country 56 times between 2012 and 2019.

The retired international is a joy to watch with ball in hand and joined the Arrows after the Jaguares left Super Rugby. 

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