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MLR Week 5 Results: Blowouts, A Draw, & A Scrap

Photo Cred - Josh Fredlund

Week 5 brought some interesting results. We had Friday night blowouts by San Diego & Toronto. Some technical issues in Houston. The first draw in Major League Rugby history. And Seattle uses chaos to beat New York.

San Diego Wins 45-17, To Move Into First Place

The San Diego Legion are surprising a lot of people this season. Expected to be a middle of the pack team, the Legion have now won four in a row after steam rolling over the Austin Elite. San Diego got trys from six different players, and points from eight different players. JP du Plessis, Dean Muir, Devin Short, Nate Augspurger, Faka'osi Pifeleti, Save Totovosau, Joe Pietersen, and Dylan Augsley scored for the Legion.

San Diego were able to dictate the pace of this match, forcing the Elite to deviate from their game-plan. Able to push the pace, the Legion were able to break the match wide open early in the second half and prevent any hope of an Austin comeback. San Diego showed that they are to be taken seriously as championship contenders.

Austin Elite continue to struggle in Major League Rugby. Whenever they seem to get any momentum going, their opponent immediately shuts it down and turns the tide back in their favor. Austin was only able to score two tries in this match. Captain Ben Mitchell scored before halftime to give Austin some momentum, which was lost after halftime. Josh Larsen threw a beautiful miss-pass to his winger and then scored after he got the return pass.

Some deep soul searching is needed for the Elite, otherwise they're not going to last in this league for long. Something has to change, whether that's coaching, management, or players, but something has to be done. It just seems like Austin is doing the same thing over and over, while expecting different results. Which is the definition of insanity.

San Diego now get a week off, before they return home to host the Toronto Arrows. The Elite also get a week off. Though, they will make their first road trip of the season to Glendale, to face the Raptors the following week.

Toronto Holds Off Late Houston Push For 44-27 Victory

The Toronto Arrows used some late scoring heroics to put away the Houston Sabercats. Unfortunately, the USA Facebook broadcast was geo-blocked for the majority of the first half so we didn't get to see the majority of the damage the Arrows did. The Arrows scored five tries on the day and Sam Malcolm was a perfect eight for eight from the kicking tee.

The Arrows did go through some lulls which allowed the SaberCats to have a glimpse of hope. But the Arrows were able to shut the door at every turn. Whenever Houston would score or go on a run, the Arrows would turn around and answer right back. In their first year in MLR, the Arrows have proven themselves to be up to the task to compete for a championship.

The Houston SaberCats always seem right on the edge of something good and then immediately fall right back down the hill. In this match, they could never really get to that edge. Toronto scored right out the gate and took advantage of the Houston mistakes to jump out to a 17-3 lead. Jamie Dever was able to get over the try line five minutes before halftime, but Toronto scored twice to take a 27-10 lead into the halftime break.

Houston has the talent, it just sometimes doesn't show up or it just takes a while to show up. Normally reliable flyhalf Sam Windsor, went just 50% from the tee on the day. Meanwhile, the attempted second half Houston comeback was started by Kelly Kolberg on the wing. Injuries have hampered the SaberCats at times, and if they can get everyone healthy, they can be a scary team.

Toronto continues their eight match road trip to start the season, as they travel to Colorado to take on the Glendale Raptors. The Houston SaberCats stay at home to host Rugby United New York.

Glendale & Utah Play To MLR's First Draw

Fitness, fitness, fitness. It comes up every time the Warriors play. Utah had problems closing out this match. And if it wasn't for the butter fingers of Glendale, Utah would've walked away with no points. The Warriors were lucky to hang on the last 20 minutes of this match. The Warriors said they worked on conditioning this off-season. Well, it hasn't shown up in any of their matches.

This match was the Fetu'u Vainikolo and Gannon Moore show for the Warriors. Vainikolo routinely broke through the Raptors line and Moore was the beneficiary of Vainikolo's line breaks. Moore scored twice in the second half to extend the Utah lead to 26-5. Tim O'Malley stepped into the flyhalf role this match and had a fine preformance, although he will be ruing his missed conversions.

Maybe the Glendale Raptors need to start using stickum or the sticky gloves NFL receivers use, because they can't hang onto the ball to save their lives. Glendale leads the league in average meters made per match, but they just can't finish. Glendale can get down deep into their opponents territory, but they either try to get to fancy or just can't hang onto the ball.

Glendale did well this match to comeback and get the draw. Down 26-5, John Ryberg took a nice inside line, got the offload from Robbie Petzer, and ran through the Warriors back line for the try. Chad Gough then scored an end to end try for the Raptors. Finally, Ryberg added his second try and earned a bonus point for the Raptors. Maximo de Achaval added the conversion to tie the match. 

The Warriors stay home as they host the top team in MLR this season, NOLA Gold. The Glendale Raptors return to Colorado for their first home match, as they host the Toronto Arrows.

Seattle RUNs Away With A 33-21 Victory

After two straight losses, the Seattle Seawolves have now won two matches in a row. Brock Staller scored himself a brace on two broken plays. Three of Seattle's trys came off of broken plays, with Shalom Suniula scoring the other try. The Seawolves thrive off of chaos and it showed today. Seattle does work set pieces and an offense, but preform best when it's a free for all.

The SeaWall defense made it's mark on the match as well. Multiple times RUNY was deep in Seattle territory, but the Seawolves defense stood tall and held them out. Seattle's kicking game also made a big impact in this match. Every time they were called upon, Staller and Ben Cima were able to change the field position with their boots.

RUNY have been one of the more impressive sides in Major League Rugby to start the season. Although in this match, the Seawolves made them look silly at times. RUNY played right into their hands with the kicking game and it cost them. Seattle would kick it deep and RUNY would kick it right back, where Seattle thrived off of the broken play.

New York might have a bone or two to pick with the referee. Two of Seattle's trys came of off questionable situations. The first, Ben Foden was tackled without the ball, which led to a 70 meter Brock Staller try. The second, Staller looked to be ahead of his kicker on his second try. But refs miss calls sometimes and RUNY need to do a better job of responding.

Seattle gets a week off before they welcome the Houston SaberCats to StarFire Sports. RUNY gets a short week, before they head to Houston to face the SaberCats.

Standings


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

~Josh Fredlund