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MLR Week 3 Results: History Strikes Again

Photo Cred - Josh Fredlund

Week 3 of Major League Rugby brought some good history and some bad memories. Toronto earned their first ever victory in Major League Rugby. Houston once again loses to the San Diego Legion at the end of the game. And NOLA-Seattle.

Toronto Surge Late To Defeat Austin 23-19

The Toronto Arrows were able to earn their first ever MLR victory with a late try to defeat the Austin Elite. The Arrows were off to a strong start as their scrum was over powering the Elite scrum when they weren't boring in. Avery Otiomen scored the first points of the game when he went over in the corner for his second try in as many games.

The game was back and forth for a good portion of the match. Austin would score and then Toronto would score. Eventually, Dan Moor was able to get the winning try for the Arrows. Spencer Jones made a deep clearing kick after the Arrows were able to turn over the ball from the Elite. Dan Moor made a superb effort to charge down Soheyl Jaoudat's clearance kick and get to the ball for the try.

The Austin Elite for the second week in a row put in an okay performance. They had a better offensive performance this week, but Timothée Guillimin continued his shaky kicking from last week going three for six from the tee again. Guillimin is one of the better flyhalfs in MLR, but something is messing with his mental performance. 

Austin's scrum was under pressure all day. Their only respite came because Toronto committed a couple scrum penalties on the day. Mason Pedersen was carted off the field in the first half after taking a couple of big hits. We wish Pedersen the best in his recovery. Austin's performance on the field continues to leave something to be desired.

Toronto gets two extra days of rest before they head to Starfire Stadium to face the Seawolves. The Elite get to welcome a team coming off a week of rest for the fourth straight week, as they welcome the Glendale Raptors to Dell Diamond.

Houston Snatches Defeat From The Jaws Of Victory Again

The San Diego Legion won their second game in a row, this time in last minute fashion. The Legion trailed for the majority of this game, but they had the majority of the possession in the second half. San Diego was on their back foot for all of the first half managing only three points as their offense had trouble connecting.

The Legion's defense kept them in the game and their constant pressure help them win the game in the second half. Anytime the SaberCats tried to get out of their half of the field, the Legion put them right back on their back foot. Eventually, San Diego broke through scoring two tries in five minutes after the 70th minute to win the game.

Josua Vici is one of the best back line players in Major League Rugby. He missed Houston's first match of the season with a knock. He immediately showed why he's an important piece of the SaberCat team. He looked to have scored a try in the corner, but was pushed into touch before he could dot down. The Legion couldn't keep him out for long, as Vici broke through the Legion defense for the try.

The first half Houston offense and second half Houston offense looked like two completely different teams. In the first half, the SaberCats looked like they could do whatever they wanted. In the second half, they couldn't get out of their own way. Eventually, Houston turned towards their forwards to try to drain the clock. But they turned to that strategy too early and couldn't hold onto the ball. This loss to the Legion is similar to last year, when the Legion won on a last second try.

The Legion now get ready to host the Utah Warriors in SoCal. While the Houston SaberCats get a week off before welcoming the Toronto Arrows back to Texas.

NOLA's Offense Wins The Day Again

NOLA's high powered offense continued it's streak of success to win the season. After the victory against the Seawolves, the NOLA Gold are averaging 39 points a game. Today, they got off to a slow start. Trailing for a good portion of the first half, the Gold scored 24 unanswered points to take the lead. 

NOLA's defense almost let them down. Up 27-10, the Seawolves started a charge back to bring the score to 27-24. However, the Gold decided to wake up again and scored two straight tries to shut the door on a Seattle comeback. Tristan Blewett scored a try around the corner and the Gold nearly scored straight off the restart to seal the victory.

Seattle jumped out to a good start, but couldn't hold on. The Seawolves jumped out to a 10-3 lead before the Seawall defense crumbled. Giving up 24 straight points including a penalty try right before half time. The defense looked to wake up after the Seawolves scored two straight trys, but couldn't keep the Gold from reaching the try line again.

The Seawolves offense had stop and start moments all day. They jumped out to a 10-3 lead, brought the score to 27-24, but in the end, Seattle couldn't do enough to win the game. Apisai Naikatini and Eric Duechle were strong ball carriers for the Seawolves today. Seattle gained meters each time these two touched the ball. Naikatini was also a try scorer for the Seawolves on the day.

NOLA gets a short week as they prepare to host Rugby United New York. Seattle gets ready to host the Toronto Arrows.

Standings After Week 3

H/T to u/ColonelFogsworth on Reddit for the table.

~Josh Fredlund