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MLR Week 2 Results: NOLA Strikes Gold

Photo Cred - Josh Fredlund

Week 2 brought more action in Major League Rugby. Utah shut down Austin on Friday. NOLA showed they could be the surprise team of the year to kickoff Saturday. And in the final match of the week Seattle met San Diego in a wet and wild affair. 

Utah Strikes Early, And Hangs On To Win

Utah was an unknown coming into the season as they didn't have much info coming out of their camp during the preseason. However that might have worked to their advantage as they scored just under five minutes into the game. Ara Elkington was waiting on the wing and bulldozed his way over the try line. The Warriors added a second try 20 minutes later, with Lance Williams peeling off a long maul and diving in over the line for the try.

Austin couldn't get over the try line and looked like they resorted to the tactics of their opponents from last week, the Houston SaberCats. Multiple times Austin had the ball in good position after a 
penalty and took the points, which in the situation during the first half worked. However during the second half, they needed to go for the line. Timothée Guillimin went three for six from the tee. He should've had four but the referees decided that one of the kicks didn't make it inside the posts.

The Warriors looked like a better team than last year, at least for the first half. They still had problems with fitness at the end of the match. The Elite let numerous chances slip through their hands and also looked to have a communication issue near the end of the second half. Guillimin went for posts when it looked like the coaches were calling for touch. Both teams have issues they need to fix for the rest of the season. The Warriors have another bye week, but they'll have an exhibition match against the New England Free Jacks. While Austin hosts the Toronto Arrows on Friday.

NOLA Strikes Gold And Breaks Open The Raptors

No one thought the NOLA Gold would be as good as they have been. They've gone out and had their way with two teams who were considered favorites to win the championship this season. However, right now the Gold sit top of the table with a maximum of 10 points. Even missing four international forwards from their pack, they had a big advantage in the first half. They were also able to break open the Raptors defense on multiple occasions to run away with this match.

The Raptors continued to be the cause of their own demise. Glendale once again had multiple opportunities lost due to 11 ball handling errors. Their defense also looked like a sieve at multiple points on the afternoon. There were big holes and no one chasing down the NOLA runner. Glendale was able to secure a try bonus point, but this is two weeks in a row they have put up a disappointing performance.

The Gold have opened a lot of eyes early in this MLR season. And if they can keep it up, they'll be in the conversation for the championship. Glendale needs to pick it up quickly, otherwise they could find themselves on the outside looking in come playoff time. NOLA has a shot to prove they are for real when they host the defending champion Seawolves next Sunday. Meanwhile, maybe the bye week is coming at a good time for the Raptors. They'll be off next week before heading to Austin.

San Diego Wins A Thriller In A Torrential Downpour

The Legion's scrum was their weakness last season. They've made a few signings and brought in a new forwards coach to help shore up the scrum. Against the Seawolves it definitely paid off. Last year against the Seawolves, the Legion got straight bullied in the scrum and gave up three penalty tries in their matchup last season. This match it was the Legion earning the penalty try from the scrum. The Legion's second try came when they caught Seattle napping. They took a quick lineout and Mikey Te'o scored in the corner.

The Seawolves looked to continue their strong start to the season, but the weather made that task harder. Torero Stadium looked like a slip'n'slide at the end of the match. Both teams had a hard time keeping hold of the ball because of the rain. Seattle was worse off when it came to handling errors in the first half as they were only able to manage three points.  William Rasileka was the Seawolves only try scorer on the day. 

Prayers up for both Joe Pietersen and Vili Toluta'u. Pietersen was knocked out early in the first half. Toluta'u looked to have broken a leg as he was put in an air cast and carted off the field. San Diego host the Houston SaberCats in the MLR CBS Sports Network game of the week next Saturday. The Seawolves head to Louisiana to take on the league leading NOLA Gold on Sunday.

Standings After Week 2

~Josh Fredlund