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MLR Week 8 Results: Ties, Tries, & Red Cards

Photo Cred - Josh Fredlund

Week 8 of Major League Rugby draws to a close. New York held strong in their first home match. Austin showed improvement, but was out gunned by Seattle. NOLA ran roughshod over Houston. While San Diego & Glendale played to a draw.

RUNY Leaves It Late Against Toronto, Win 24-21

Rugby United New York won their first home match with a last minute try against the Arrows. Playing at MCU Park in Brooklyn, New York, RUNY came from behind to beat Toronto. Dylan Fawsitt scored two trys behind the rolling maul that couldn't be stopped. Chris Mattina took over kicking duties again after Cathal Marsh was forced off with an injury.

Outside of two blowout wins, each RUNY victory this season has been left late. Against San Diego, they won on a penalty try. Against NOLA, it was a penalty kick in the last 10 minutes that won them the match. And against Toronto it was a last minute try from John Quill that secured them the victory. New York needs to be careful, because that could comeback to bite them.

The Toronto Arrows are one of the hard done teams in Major League Rugby. They do everything right, but luck isn't always on their side. They came back to beat the San Diego Legion last week, but couldn't hold on to beat RUNY this week. Sometimes that's just the way matches unfold, but the Arrows will be hard pressed to feel that way.

Andrew Ferguson scored the Arrows first try of the match after finding open space and darting into the corner for the try. Guiseppe du Toit was the other try scorer for Toronto on the day. du Toit ran a nice inside line right through the RUNY defense for the try. Sam Malcolm extended the Arrows lead to nine points with 20 minutes left, but the Arrows couldn't hold on as RUNY scored two trys in the last 10 minutes to win the match.

RUNY gets to stay home as they welcome the Glendale Raptors to Brooklyn in the CBS Sports Game of the Week. Toronto gets a week off before playing their final away match against the Utah Warriors on March 30th.

Seattle Beat An Improved Austin Side 29-17

The Seattle Seawolves were stunned for the first 20 minutes of their match against Austin before they woke up and went on a 29-3 run to pull out the victory. The Seawolves earn a full five point victory after scoring four trys in this match. Riekert Hattingh scored two, while Dan Trierweiler and Brad Tucker scored the other two trys for Seattle.

Seattle needs to be careful. Cracks are starting to show in the Seawolves game plan. This is two weeks in a row that they had poor starts against bad competition. They trailed Houston and Austin, where they should've run away with both matches. If they're not careful, the stronger teams in Major League Rugby could cost them a spot in the playoffs.

The Austin Elite got off to a very poor start to the season, part of which involved the first three games of the season. Each of those games was winnable for Austin, but they couldn't pull it out. Against Seattle, it seemed like some sort of switch was flipped for Austin, at least for the first 20 minutes. Tiaan Erasmus and Soheyl Jaoudat scored Austin's trys on the day.

It was another player making his debut for the Elite that had the biggest impact. Last week against Glendale it was Moe Abdelmonem. This week it was JP Aguirre, the Argentinian center made his presence felt in the opening 20 minutes. It was his kick to the corner that led to Erasmus' try and he had the try assist on Jaoudat's try. Austin keeps improving as they get more players in.

Seattle get a week off, before they host the San Diego Legion on Sunday, March 31st. While Austin head to Louisiana to face the Gold next Saturday.

NOLA Cruises 49-11 In Penalty Filled Win Over Houston

It really shouldn't come as a surprise anymore, but it still does. The NOLA Gold are the most impressive team in Major League Rugby so far this season. After finishing near the bottom of the table last season. GM Ryan Fitzgerald went out and made some great signings. One of those signings, Tristan Blewett, finished with a hat trick in this match. Blewett did have to leave the match after catching a Josua Vici boot to the head.

The Gold finished with seven trys on the day. Three from Blewett and one each from Eric Howard, Kyle Baillie, Joeli Tikoisuva, and JP Eloff. Eloff converted all seven trys. This was a clinical performance from NOLA, as they made Houston look like they didn't even belong on the field with them. NOLA now has a large target on their back for the rest of the season.

This game started strong for Houston, went downhill, and then got outright ugly. Sam Windsor put the SaberCats up 6-0 after two penalty kicks, but Houston's defense eventually fell apart. They were also a bit unlucky, as Blewett's second try was a 60 meter intercept that happened after Houston's penalty advantage was unexpectedly called over.

This match got ugly in the 71st minute. Josua Vici led with an elbow into Holden Yungert after the whistle and that started a giant melee between the teams. After the dust had settle Vici and Osea Kolinisau were sent off with red cards. Vici for the elbow and Kolinisau for choking a NOLA player in the scuffle. Maybe this was just frustration on Houston's part, but they need to keep it together as we haven't even reached the halfway mark of the season yet.

NOLA welcomes the Austin Elite to Gold Stadium on Saturday. While the Houston SaberCats have a short week as they host the Utah Warriors on Thursday, March 21st.

San Diego Comes Back To Earn 28-28 Draw At Glendale

This match will be debated as match of the weekend along with the RUNY-Toronto match. San Diego had the lead, lost it, and them came back to earn the draw. There were some controversial moments in this match that had an effect on both side. The Legion's first try came after Dylan Taikato-Simpson was judged to have knocked the ball on in the in-goal area. San Diego had a five meter scrum and Jordan Manihera scored from the back of the pack.

The Legion's scrum was the driving force in this match. Either forcing Glendale to commit penalties or go to quick scrums. It also helped them earn the draw. Down deep in Glendale territory, the Raptors had multiple chances to get out, but the San Diego scrum prevented that. JP du Plessis scored the last try in the corner and Joe Pietersen converted from the touchline to earn the draw.

The Glendale Raptors were hard done to come away with their second draw of the season. They had multiple opportunities to close this game out near the end, but couldn't. John "Muscles" Ryberg continues to have his name called on match days. Mika Kruse threw him a miss-pass and he powered his way over for a try. 

The Raptors part of controversy came when Mika Kruse scored in the corner. After Keni Nasoqeqe was sent off for a swinging arm in the ruck, Kruse appeared to have stepped out before dotting down in the corner. The Raptors USA Eagle selections made a return and two had big games, while one was quiet. Shaun Davies directed the Raptors all day and scored a try of his own. Will Magie converted all four trys and Hanco Germishuys was strangely quiet.

The Legion now get a week off before they head north to face Seattle in a rematch of the monsoon match from earlier this season. The Raptors head east, as they face John Quill and New York in the CBS Sports Game of the Week on Sunday.
3.17.2019 San Diego vs Glendale


~Josh Fredlund