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MLR Week 10 Results: Close Calls, A Blowout & Texas Hold'Em?

Photo Cred - Josh Fredlund

Week 10 of Major League Rugby brought a record breaking performance from the Toronto Arrows, close calls for RUNY and Glendale, and a card game broke out in Seattle between the Legion and Seawolves.

RUNY Scrapes By Austin 19-11 In San Antonio

Rugby United New York didn't expect to have as difficult a time against the Austin Elite as they had. New York had to fight for every meter and every point earned. RUNY has one of the strongest forward packs in Major League Rugby and proved it early on by completely destroying Austin in the set piece. Scrumhalf Marcus Walsh and hooker Mike Brown combined for a quick lineout to take an early 5-0 lead.

Austin was able to recover in the set piece and got the better of RUNY at times in the second half. RUNY however was able to have the last laugh with two tries, one each from flanker James Denise and replacement scrumhalf Mike Petri crossing the try line in the second half to secure the victory. Chris Mattina converted Petri's try to extend RUNY's lead to eight and prevent a losing bonus point for Austin.

Austin isn't one for moral victories, but at this point it seems like they'll take what they can get. They stood tall against one of the top teams in MLR and held their own. They got destroyed in the set piece early, but they responded. Juan Echeverría had early struggles against James Rochford but was able to adjust and ended up causing him problems as they game wore on.

Austin only got one try on the day, but it was a spicy one. Marcelo Torrealba broke through the New York defensive line and offloaded to winger Reece Czarnecki who was able to outrace the RUNY defense to the corner for the try. The Elite have improved since the season started and which ever team they beat will be wondering what just hit them.

New York get a week off before they come back to Coney Island to host the San Diego Legion on Sunday, April 14th. Austin isn't as lucky, as they now head to California to face the Legion next Sunday, April 7th.

Toronto Arrows Record Record-Breaking 64-31 Win Over Utah

The Toronto Arrows win over the Utah Warriors set a couple Major League Rugby records. One record, most points scored by one team in a match. The second, most combined points scored in one match. The previous records stood at 55 and 88 points respectively. Toronto had all nine of their trys scored by nine different players, showing just how dangerous this team is.

The Arrows jumped out quickly to a 19-0 lead, before Utah responded to tie the match. From that point on, the match was all Toronto. As they outscored the Warriors six trys and one penalty kick to three trys. The Arrows got trys from both the forwards and backs. With the forwards scoring five trys and the backs scoring four.

The Utah Warriors continue to struggle this season. After a victory over Austin, draw against Glendale, and last second loss to NOLA, the Warriors just haven't been able to get anything going. The momentum went back and forth in the beginning of the match, but finally swung back towards the Arrows near the end of the first half.

Going down 19-0 early, the Warriors responded with trys from Jackson Kaka and Fetu'u Vainikolo, as well as a penalty try that was awarded when Andrew Ferguson was ruled to have tripped Tonata Lauti. Those trys gave Utah a 21-19 lead, but they couldn't hold onto it. Utah has some things figured out, but they still have a lot they need to work on.

After eight straight away matches, the Toronto Arrows head back to Canada to host the NOLA Gold on Sunday, April 7th in the first of eight straight home matches for the Arrows. It doesn't get any easier for Utah as they welcome the Seattle Seawolves to Zions Bank Stadium on Friday, April 5th.

Raptors Earn Last Second 34-33 Victory Over NOLA

The Glendale Raptors came into this match undefeated at home since the start of Major League Rugby and a last second penalty kick from Robbie Petzer kept it that way. This was a back and forth match, with each team getting their punches in. The Raptors got their punches in early in each half. Glendale jumped out to a 17-0 lead before NOLA responded to take a 21-17 lead into halftime.

The Raptors once again jumped out to a lead, this time 31-17 before NOLA responded to take a 33-31 lead. The Raptors got lucky twice in the last few minutes of this match. First, when NOLA knocked it on when they were trying to wind the clock down. Second, when they got the winning penalty right in front of the sticks after Chad Gough tried to go quick after an earlier penalty.

NOLA will be disappointed not walking out with the victory. They mauled over for a try after Zach Fenoglio was sent to the bin for repeated infringements at the ruck. JP Eloff then was able to convert the try after the ball hit the upright and ricocheted through. Ill discipline cost the Gold in the end with a knock on and two penalties costing them the win.

The Gold score one more try than the Raptors but a missed conversion from JP Eloff will be on the minds of NOLA as the Raptors converted two penalties to get the win. This game got scrappy a few times. With the teams coming together to exchange pleasantries on a couple of occasions. No cards were handed out here, but Ignacio Dotti was sent to the bin at the end for a no arms, grass cutter tackle.

The Glendale Raptors get to stay home as they welcome the Houston SaberCats to Infinity Park on Saturday, April 6th. NOLA continues their road trip as they head north to face the Toronto Arrows on Sunday, April 7th.
NOLA vs Glendale 3.30.2019

14 Man San Diego Survive Seattle 28-22

Some quick thinking by Jasa Veremalua ensured that the San Diego left the Pacific Northwest with the season sweep of the Seattle Seawolves. Veremalua made up for his earlier yellow card by picking up the loose ball and running in almost untouched for the easy try. The Legion surprised the Seawolves by jumping out to a 17-0 lead. The Seawolves fought valiantly, but came up short in the end.

Elgan Williams in his first MLR match as referee, decided to play a little Texas Hold'Em. Williams handed out four cards in total; three to San Diego and one to Seattle. Seattle's Cam Polson was shown a yellow card after tackling a Legion player following a grubber kick. San Diego was shown a red and two yellow cards. Veremalua and Jordan Manihera were shown yellows for high tackles, while Keni Nasoqeqe was shown a red for a no-arm, clear out of the ruck.

Seattle had last week off and came out this week looking a little rusty. In the few eight on eight scrums we had, San Diego showed themselves to be the superior forward pack. The Seawolves looked like they had no organized offense. We know that Seattle thrives on chaos and scored against San Diego when it occurred, but the Legion tried to limit the chaos and played an organized defense.

The Seawolves were able to earn two bonus points to keep a hold on the final playoff spot. Seattle got four trys on the day, with the last try from Mat Turner also earning the Seawolves the losing bonus point. The normally reliable kicking of Brock Staller was missing today. Staller missed three conversions and this was the difference in the score line at the end of the match.

The Legion head back home as they welcome the Austin Elite to Torero Stadium on Sunday, April 7th. Meanwhile, the Seawolves get a short week as they head to Utah to face the Warriors on Friday, April 5th.


~Josh Fredlund (Photos by Josh Fredlund)