Major League Rugby have announced the Dallas Jackals as the competition’s 13th and newest franchise for the 2021 season.

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The announcement comes just a week after it was confirmed a new side based out of Los Angeles, to be known as the LA Giltinis, would join the league next year.

Both teams come into MLR to fill the void left by the Colorado Raptors, one of the league’s foundation teams that withdrew from the competition shortly after the 2020 season was cancelled in March due to the coronavirus outbreak.

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In conversation with Bryan Habana

Led by an investment group including notable sports executives Neil Leibman and Donnie Nelson, the Jackals will be based at the 49,5000-capacity Globe Life Park – the recent home venue for the XFL Renegades, the USL North Texas SC, and former home of the MLB’s Texas Rangers – in Arlington, Texas.

The club will become the third team to be based out of the state of Texas, joining fellow sides, and now local rivals, the Austin Gilgronis and Houston SaberCats.

“Dallas has been ready to welcome an MLR team for several years now so we are ecstatic that the Jackals are on board for 2021,” MLR Commissioner George Killebrew said in a statement.

“The Dallas Jackals have the recipe for success in MLR – an extremely knowledgeable and experienced ownership group, plans for a stadium, and a mission for youth and community engagement.

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“I look forward to seeing them excel in the League in 2021 and beyond.”

The Jackals could look to dip into the player market swiftly as the Giltinis, who are owned by an Australian investment company, have reportedly done.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the Venice Beach-based club, which is coached by experienced Australian boss Darren Coleman and ex-Wallabies loose forward Stephen Hoiles, are already making good use of their Australian connections.

Young Wallabies trio Jack Maddocks, Joe Powell and Tom Robertson are all believed to be in discussions about joining the Giltinis by the end of this year as Rugby Australia continues to battle with the financial downfall brought on by COVID-19.

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A slash in player salaries has made offshore deals a more attractive proposition, and the Jackals could potentially target former Reds stars Izack Rodda, Isaac Lucas and Harry Hockings after the trio were released by the club after refusing to take pay cuts.

Among those already leaving Australian rugby this year include Kurtley Beale, Luke Jones (both Racing 92), Matt Philip (Pau), Jermaine Ainsley (Highlanders), Harry Potter (Leicester) and David Feao (Carcossonne), as per the Herald.

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