The Glendale Raptors Fend Off The San Diego Legion 31-27


The Glendale Raptors hosted the San Diego Legion in a matchup of the first and second place teams in Major League Rugby. The Raptors and Legion played a back and forth match before Glendale was able to pull it out in the end. The Raptors played an ugly game, but were able to pull out the victory. The Legion took the Raptors the distance and have positioned themselves well for the rest of the season.

After the Raptors missed multiple opportunities for points in the early portion of the match, Will Magie put the first points on the board with a penalty kick. Sione Tu'ihalamaka responded for the Legion. Tu'ihalamaka had a slow start to the season, especially against Seattle, but he has improved as the season has gone on. Tu'ihalamaka went over for the try after a pick and go.

Maximo de Achaval added his second try of the season. He weaved his way through the Legion defense and made four people miss before he dotted down for the try. Dylan Audsley pushed penalty kick attempt left that would've tied the match.

Pat Blair gave the Legion the lead heading into halftime. The Legion mauled their way over the try line and Blair was at the back of the maul for the try

It was an ugly first half for the Raptors. They had multiple handling errors and they didn't execute they way they wanted. The Legion had a good first half. They also had errors, but they were able to contain their errors while taking advantage of Glendale's errors.

San Diego extended their lead with another forward try. Similar to their first, with the try coming off of a pick and go, only this time it was Dolph Botha getting the credit for the try. This completed the front row hat trick as both props and the hooker recored tries for the Legion.

Kelepi Fifita answered back for the Raptors. He took a pass from Shaun Davies and broke through two arm tackles from the Legion for the try. Mika Kruse had a crunching, try-saving tackle for the Raptors. Kruse's tackle on Drew Gaffney helped stop the Legion's momentum and gain some for Glendale.

Seth Halliman put the Raptors back in the lead with a weaving try through the edge of the Legion defense. He received the pass from Chad London and ran about 40 meters, while beating two Legion defenders on the edge, for the try.

Dylan Audsley tied the game at 24 for the Legion with a penalty kick. Audsley then gave the Legion the lead with another penalty kick after Zach Fenoglio was called for playing the nine. Fenoglio made up for that penalty by scoring winning try for the Raptors. After Ata Malifa was stopped short of the try line, Fenoglio was there to clean up for the try.

The Raptors defense once again held at the end. The Legion were driving for a try that would've won them the game, but the Raptors were able to force San Diego into making a mistake and were able to pounce on the ball and end the game.

San Diego will be disappointed with not winning as they had Glendale playing on their back foot for a good portion of the match. The Legion will be happy with how their scrum performed. They had the Raptors on skates for a lot of the scrums. They Legion didn't play the wide ranging play that we're accustomed too, but that seemed to suit them well today.

Glendale will take the win, but they won't be happy with it. They made fundamental mistakes that could've cost them this match. The Raptors had chances to score early in this match and they threw them away with simple handling errors. Both coach David Williams and flanker Zach Fenoglio said that the Raptors will have to work on the fundamentals in these next few weeks.

San Diego has a week off before they travel to Round Rock, Texas to take on Austin Elite Rugby on May 25th in the CBS Sports Game of the Week. The Glendale Raptors have two weeks off before they head to NOLA to take on the Gold on June 3rd.

Man of the Match
San Diego: Dylan Audsley
Glendale: Zach Fenoglio

San Diego Legion vs Glendale Raptors 5/13/2018
Scoring
San Diego

Tries: Sione Tu'ihalamaka (14), Pat Blair (39), Dolph Botha (46)

Cons: Dylan Audsley 3/3

Pens: Dylan Audsley 2/3 (21 (missed), 67, 72)

Glendale

Tries: Maximo de Achaval (19), Kelepi Fifita (49), Seth Halliman (61), Zach Fenoglio (76)

Cons: Will Magie 4/4

Pens: Will Magie 1/1 (12)

~Josh Fredlund (Photos by Josh Fredlund)