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MLR Week 7 Preview

Photo Cred - Josh Fredlund

This week is week 7 of Major League Rugby. Toronto and RUNY continue their long road trips to start the season. Houston heads to the Pacific Northwest. And we get our first rematch of the season, when Austin heads to Colorado to face the Raptors. Utah might be playing snow rugby again, while Glendale should be in the clear.

RUNY @ Utah Warriors - Friday, March 8th (9pm ET)

TV - ESPN+, KMYU, SNY

Rugby United New York make their first trip to the Rocky Mountain region as they head to Herriman, Utah to take on the Warriors. They got the bad taste out of their mouth from Seattle, by beating the Houston SaberCats 35-8. Ben Foden was put at his preferred position of fullback and it made a big difference for New York.

Foden is back at fullback and will be an impact player for RUNY on offense. One area that he might struggle in is defense. With Tonata Lauti and Fetu'u Vainikolo on the wings and Foden not preforming that well on defense this season, New York will need others to step up to contain the Warriors. RUNY's forward pack will need to step up as well. Utah has a good pack and can do damage.

The Utah Warriors lost a heartbreaker to the NOLA Gold last week. Up 19-16, Nick Feakes scored his third try of the match to send NOLA back to the top of the table. Utah had the elements to thank for keeping them in this match, as it snowed pretty hard in Utah. The snow slowed down NOLA's wide attacking style.

The elements might come into play again this week, as snow is in the forecast for Friday in Herriman. Utah's forward pack came to the front against NOLA and will be needed again if the elements come into play. The Warriors quick and shifty backs were put on the backburner last week. If they can get up to speed against RUNY, Utah will cause trouble for New York.

EoD Picks: Aaron - RUNY, Corey - RUNY, Josh - RUNY, Liam - RUNY

Austin Elite @ Glendale Raptors - Saturday, March 9th (9pm ET)

TV - KTVD, www.9news.com

The Austin Elite continue to struggle. They performed decently last season, winning three games and just missing the playoffs by four standings points. This season hasn't gone well for them. They were able to keep it close for their first four games, before being blown out by the San Diego Legion. If they can't starting performing better on the field, Austin might be looking for a new coach.

This week they head to Colorado to face the Raptors in a rematch from three weeks ago. In that match, the Elite had a scrum advantage and should have that advantage again as Glendale has struggled in the scrum this season. If Austin can force the game to slow down, play through their forwards, and force Glendale to commit errors, they have a chance in this match.

The Glendale Raptors will be buzzing after shutting out the Toronto Arrows last week. The weather certainly played a factor, as the teams played in a near blizzard. Glendale stuck to their kick and chase game and it worked for them this match. They did struggle in the scrum and that may have been due to their choice of cleat.

Against Austin, clear weather is expected. Glendale has stuck to their gameplan this season, and this match shouldn't be any different. When Glendale hangs onto the ball, they are one of the best teams in Major League Rugby. Expect Glendale to try and force the pace of the match to a higher level and run the Elite off the pitch.

EoD Picks: Aaron - Glendale, Corey - Glendale, Josh - Glendale, Liam - Glendale.

Houston SaberCats @ Seattle Seawolves - Sunday, March 10th (8pm ET)

TV - ESPN+, KUBE, Root Sports Northwest

The Houston SaberCats are another team that has struggled mightily in Major League Rugby. Houston has won only two games over the past two seasons; Both over the Austin Elite. Twice, they've lost at the last minute against the Legion and those losses seemed to kill any momentum the SaberCats might have built.

Against Seattle, Houston has to play like they've never played before. They must execute in every facet of the game. Mistakes are going to happen; how the SaberCats respond is going to be the determining factor in this match. The SaberCats have to play a controlled match as Seattle thrives on chaos. If Houston can avoid playing rugby soccer and control the pace, they have a chance against the Seawolves.

Even while not looking like the best Seattle Seawolves we know they can be, Seattle has looked like one of the best teams in MLR. Each match this season has been a well played match from the Seawolves, even the losses. They have struggled at times this season. That can boiled down to two things: one, the other teams have gotten better. And two, teams have Seattle sort of figured out schematically. 

The Seawolves have been better as a disorganized team than an organized team. Against RUNY, Seattle score three tries from chaos. They became a soccer team against New York and pulled away in the second half. Against, Houston they can blow this game open with the same strategy. Houston has had some bad performances defensively and Seattle can take advantage of that.

Eod Picks: Aaron - Seattle, Corey - Seattle, Josh - Seattle, Liam - Seattle

Toronto Arrows @ San Diego Legion - Sunday, March 10th (10:30pm ET)

TV - CBS Sports Network

The Toronto Arrows will be happier with the weather this week. After playing in a near blizzard last week in Colorado, they head to San Diego where they'll be greeted by a warmer temperature, but potentially rain as well. Against the Raptors, Toronto could get nothing going. The Arrows one saving grace from last week was their strong scrum.

Against the Legion, Toronto will need to have a strong scrum again. San Diego has had one of the most improved scrums in the league from last season. The Arrows will need to play smart as the Legion can be one of the more trickier teams to play as they can shift playing styles depending on their needs for the game.

The San Diego Legion have been flip flopping at the top of the league table with the NOLA Gold. They have improved a lot compared to last season. In their very first match last season, the Legion gave up three penalty trys to Seattle. This season, they forced a penalty try from Seattle when the teams played each other.

Facing the Arrows, will be no easy task. Toronto is one of those teams that can sneak up on you. Coming into this season, we kind of had any idea of what to expect from the Arrows, but they've exceeded the expectations place upon them. The Legion will need to be on their toes in this match. They'll need to play a wide, expansive game to keep the Arrows in check.

EoD: Aaron - San Diego, Corey - San Diego, Josh - Toronto, Liam - San Diego

~Josh Fredlund (Rosters to be added as they are released)