Chicago Hounds Extend All-Pro Center
CHICAGO, I.L.- The Hounds agreed to a contract extension with All-Pro center Billy Meakes, the club announced today.
Chicago selected Meakes, 32, in last year’s Major League Rugby expansion draft. The Australian native made an immediate impact for the Hounds. He appeared in 14 contests (14 starts) and carried the ball 170 times for 1154 meters (6.8 Meters-Per-Carry). Meakes made three clean line breaks in 2023 and beat 39 defenders. On defense, he completed 153 tackles successfully.
He capped off the 2023 season by earning his third consecutive All-Pro selection. Meakes was named to the 2023 All-MLR second-team after earning first-team honors in both 2021 and 2022. The center won MLR’s Back of the Year award in both 2021 and 2022 as well.
Prior to Chicago, Meakes spent the previous two seasons with the Los Angeles Giltinis. During his time in LA, the center beat 90 defenders and broke the line 13 times on 310 carries. Meakes gained 2,495 meters when he opted to carry the ball (8.0 MPC) and scored five tries. He was a defensive stalwart for the 2021 MLR Champions, making 241 tackles for the Giltinis.
The center competed with the Australian Under-20 team in the 2011 U20 World Championships, finishing in third place. He joined Gloucester in the English Premiership in 2013, where he spent three seasons before returning to Australia and signing with the Western Force. After two seasons with the Force, Meakes signed with the Rebels before moving to the London Irish in 2020 on a short-term deal.
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