The Houston SaberCats signed Dominic Akina for the 2023 Major League Rugby season after acquiring his signing rights in the 2022 MLR dispersal draft. The 29-year-old center/back-row is 6’2” and 220 lbs.
Dominic played 284 minutes in 10 matches, starting 2, and scored one try for Austin Gilgronis in 2022. In 2021 he played 730 minutes in 12 matches, starting 9, and scored 3 tries for the Gilgronis. He then transitioned from back-row to center with the American Raptors in Fall, of 2021.
He played with the Austin Herd in their 57-12 exhibition season win over the Austin Huns on January 4, 2020. He then played 400 minutes in all five matches for the Gilgronis during the regular season. He carried the ball 28 times for 228 meters and scored his first MLR try in Las Vegas against RUNY in week two.
On defense, Akina tallied 48 tackles with a made tackle percentage of 99.2% on the season. Akina was the primary lineout option for the AGs with 19 takes and four steals.
Akina earned a spot on the MLR’s First XV of the Week after an impressive showing against Utah in week three.
Dominic was born and raised in Hauula, Hawaii, and later moved to Oregon. He attended Century High School in Hillsboro, Oregon, and was a member of the football and track teams.
He then enrolled at Western Oregon University as a Health Education and Exercise Science major in 2012, but a football injury resulted in his taking some time off before returning to the university. In 2020 he had one more year remaining to graduate.
Akina was the three-time rugby club MVP at the outside center during the 2015-16, 2017-18, and 2018-19 seasons, and was the team’s Assistant Rugby Coach from 2017-2019.
In football, he was a cornerback, safety, and linebacker and played in 24 football games in three seasons at Western Oregon, making 88 tackles, four interceptions, and two touchdowns.
Dominic also played rugby with the Willamette Sharks Rugby Club. The team was formed in 2017 and is affiliated with the International Rugby Institute in South Africa.
The Sharks ”developed our program to provide a bone-jarring example of how people from very different backgrounds can work together to achieve something truly remarkable. Our goal is simple: to dominate the competition, show the world that diversity is power, and #ruckracism.”
After attending a combine, Dominic impressed Austin Herd with the vertical leap test. He has a 41” leap and has been timed in a 40-yard dash in 4.38 seconds.
Other interests include spending time with his family, being out on the water kayaking, fishing, …, enjoying BBQ, and playing video games.