The New England Free Jacks signed James Hilterbrand for the remainder of the 2023 Major League Rugby season. The soon-to-be 34-year-old hooker/prop is 6’0″ and 245 lbs.
James started 193 minutes in 3 starts for San Diego Legion in 2022.
James was born and raised in Adelaide, South Australia, and attended Brighton High School. He played age-grade rugby for South Australia Under-16s in 2004 and 2005, for the under-18s in the Australia Schools Championship Division II in 2005 and 2006, and the Under-21s, and also represented the Australia Under-18s in 2007.
He moved to Sydney and began playing rugby with the Manly Colts in 2008, and then playing in the Shute Shield competition. He also represented the Sydney Anchors against NSW County. From 2009 to 2011 he attended the University of Sydney, earning a Bachelor of Applied Science Degree in Human Movement.
James, who was eligible to represent Scotland and the United States by ancestry, made his debut for the USA against Canada at the Americas Rugby Championship on 13 February 2016. Eagle 480 went on to play in 20 tests, starting 11, including playing in one match against Tonga on 13, October at the Rugby World Cup 2019.
James played for Western Force and Waratahs in the Super Rugby competition, Edinburgh in the PRO 12 competition from 2013 to 2015, the Sydney Rays and North Harbour in the National Rugby Championship, and Eastern Province Kings in the Currie Cup.
James joins the Legion from Manly and will bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the team, which is especially valuable with Matt Moulds out due to a neck injury.