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The Seattle Seawolves Win The Inaugural MLR Championship 23-19


The Seattle Seawolves and Glendale Raptors met at Torero Stadium in San Diego, California for the Major League Rugby Championship. The Seawolves were able to take advantage of the Raptors mistakes and come away with the championship. The Raptors let this match slip through their hands and will walk away wondering what if.

Peter Smith put the first points of the match on the board with a penalty kick. The Glendale Raptors responded with a driving maul try. Seattle looked like they stopped the Raptors maul, but the Raptors were able to keep the momentum and drive over for the try. Zach Fenoglio was the man at the back of the maul and was given credit for the try.

Peter Smith pushed a penalty kick attempt wide that would've brought the Raptors lead down to one point. Ray Barkwill made up for the miss with a tit-for-tat driving maul try. The Raptors looked to have the Seawolves maul stopped, but Barkwill was able to break free and get over for the try. The Seawolves looked to have a second try in a row but Vili Toluta'u was called for obstruction by the TMO.

Harley Davidson looked to give the Raptors the lead back, but was not given the try as he was ruled to have knocked-on in the grounding process. Both teams had multiple opportunities for more points, but the defenses stood tall to keep the halftime score 8-7 in favor of Seattle.

A hard, physical first half from both squads. Simple mistakes kept the score from being higher. Going too fast and trying to do too much caused many of those mistakes. The first half was exactly the type of game the league was looking for when they started.

Zach Fenoglio got his second try of the match, once again off a driving maul, to give the Raptors the lead back. Will Magie's conversion was wide and the Raptors led 12-8. The Raptors defense was a key for them in this game. With Seattle playing high, the Raptors were able to keep them off the deck and turn the ball over in the maul.

Bryce Campbell extended the Raptors lead thanks to multiple Seattle mistakes. They knocked on, Shaun Davies kicked down field, the Raptors missed the pick up, Vili Toluta'u tried to kick the ball back downfield instead of falling on it, and the Raptors were able to go in under the sticks from there. Will Magie converted to put the Raptors up 19-8.

The Seawolves responded right away. William Rasileka scored in the corner. The scoring sequence started off a Seattle lineout and Vili Toluta'u run. Peter Smith pushed the conversion wide and the Seawolves trailed 19-13.

Reikert Hattingh added a second try in a row for the Seawolves. Peter Tiberio was able to draw in the defenders and offload to Hattingh, who was able to run in for the try. Peter Smith was able to convert and give the Seawolves the lead back 20-19. Peter Smith extended the Seawolves lead to 23-19 with a penalty kick.

The Glendale Raptors let this game slip through their hands. They had an 11 point lead and gave it away. They committed too many penalties in the first half. And that crept into play in the second half. The Raptors played a great game and should've won, but they let Seattle stay in the game and it cost them the championship.

Seattle took advantage of the Raptors mistakes throughout the match. Seattle played their game and forced the Raptors hands for the majority of the match. Phil Mack had a great game plan, the Seawolves executed it to perfection, and they are the inaugural Major League Rugby Champions.

Man of the Match
Seattle: Vili Toluta'u
Glendale: Zach Fenoglio

Scoring
Seattle

Tries: Ray Barkwill (23), William Rasileka (59), Reikert Hattingh (61)

Cons: Peter Smith 1/3

Pens: Peter Smith 2/3 (10, 19 (missed), 68)

Glendale

Tries: Zach Fenoglio (13, 50), Bryce Campbell (57)

Cons: Will Magie 2/3

Pens: N/a

~Josh Fredlund