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MLR Week 11 Results: It's A Broken Record

Photo Cred - Josh Fredlund

Week 11 looked like it was going to be a reversal of fortunes for Utah, Houston, Toronto, and Austin but it ended up being more of the same. Seattle came back to defeat the Warriors. Glendale fought off a 32-0 Houston lead to break the total points in a match record again. NOLA scored their only points of the second half to win. And San Diego left no doubt, in their dominating win over Austin.

Seattle With A Big Second Half, Wins 48-36

The Seattle Seawolves continue to have close calls this season. Trailing 22-17 at half, the Seawolves outscored the Utah Warriors 31-14 in the second half to come away with the victory. Utah didn't make it easy for them at the start of the game. After the Seawolves took a 10-3 lead early in the first half, the Warriors went on a 19-7 run to end out the half.

The Seawolves used their superior fitness to outlast the Warriors. Utah has had fitness issues cost them matches dating back to last season. It also was a war of attrition for the Warriors as they had a couple of players go down with injury including star winger Fetu'u Vainikolo going down early in the first half with a hamstring injury.

The Seawolves themselves didn't miss getting bit by the injury bug either. Oli Kilifi went down with an ankle injury in the first 10 minutes of the match. This brought on Djustice Sears-Duru (not Duru-Sears like the announcers were saying). Sears-Duru finally got his visa clearance and immediately made an impact. DJ rampaged his way through the Warriors defense and his play eventually led to the first try of the match by Brock Staller.

Josh Whippy gave the Warriors a glimpse of light near the end of the match, as he was able to put down a loose ball at the base of the post. The Warriors then had an opportunity to tie the game, but the ball squirted out on a tackle and Mat Turner was in untouched on a 90 meter try. That try cost the Warriors more than just a loss, as it also cost them a losing bonus point.

The Seawolves now head to Texas to face the Houston SaberCats on Saturday, April 13th. The Utah Warriors also go on the road, as they head to NOLA to face the Gold, also on Saturday, April 13th.

Glendale Completes Miraculous Comeback To Win 52-44

If your team goes up 32-0, you'd think the match would be over at that point. Well, it's just the luck of the Houston SaberCats that that wasn't the case here. After earning two penalty trys, a Glendale yellow card, and going up 32-0 in the first 35 minutes, the SaberCats then proceeded to get outscored 52-12 in the final 45 minutes of the match.

John Ryberg will get most the accolades in this match. And they are very deserving, as he started the Glendale comeback. Ryberg scored two trys in the final five minutes of the the first half to start the Glendale comeback and completed his hat trick with the try that secured the win for the Raptors. Ryberg now leads the league in trys with nine.

However, man of the match for me has to go to new Glendale signing Murphy Taramai. He might not have gotten himself a try on the stat sheet, but he was all over the field making tackles, breaking tackles, and being a nuisance on the field. Taramai had multiple breaks through the SaberCats defense that led directly to trys.

If this wasn't a massive disappointment for the SaberCats, something is wrong with them. They were the dominant team for the first 35 minutes of this match. Their scrum earned them two penalty trys and caused Kelepi Fifita to spend 10 minutes in the sin bin due to repeated scrum infringements. New signing Deion Mikesell made an impact, scoring a try, in his first match for Houston. Houston just needs to learn to finish.

Glendale now gets a week off to recover before heading the San Diego to face the Legion on Saturday, April 20th. Houston now gets ready to open AVEVA Stadium, as they host the Seattle Seawolves on Saturday, April 13th. 
Houston vs Glendale 4.6.2019

NOLA Steals A Win, 35-31

In the first ever Major League Rugby match on Canadian soil, and first of eight straight home matches for the Toronto Arrows, a sold out York Stadium crowd of 3,081 saw a back and forth fight that ultimately ended with a disappointing result for the home crowd. A slow start to the first half was the ultimate demise of the Arrows.

Ignacio Dotti, the goat last week against Glendale, became the hero this week against Toronto. Dotti cost the Gold the win against the Raptors with a late penalty right in front of the sticks. This week Dotti scored the final try of the match that earned NOLA the victory. NOLA would jump out to a 28-14 lead, before going quiet for the first 39 minutes of the second half.

Toronto would score the first try of the match as Dan Moor raced through a gap in the NOLA defense and dotted down in the corner in the first minute of the match. Two big mistakes will be on the minds of the Arrows throughout this week. First, they gave up a penalty try, and had Avery Oitomen sent off for the high tackle. Second, was giving up the intercept try to Tristan Blewett.

NOLA maintains their hold on first place, although it seems to be getting more and more tedious as the season rolls on. The Toronto Arrows will be sorely disappointed to lose their first home match, after eight straight on the road. But they've shown they can compete in this league, and will ruin someone's chances of making the playoffs.

NOLA now heads back home to host the Utah Warriors on Saturday, April 13th. Toronto gets ready to host Austin Elite Rugby at Alumni Field at York University on Sunday, April 14th.

San Diego Rolls Over Austin 45-15

After a couple weeks of looking like a team ready to turn the corner, the Austin Elite took a couple steps backwards against the San Diego Legion. They got off to a quick start after a long distance penalty kick from AndrĂ©s Vilaseca. However, San Diego responded with three trys in relatively quick succession. One try each from Savenaca Totovosau, Ryan Matyas, and Mike Te'o.

Austin did get a try back in the first half. After finally putting together some phases, LaRome White was able to roll forwards and place the ball on the try line to get Austin back in the match in the first half. Austin still had trouble in the set piece, as San Diego proved there's a reason their forward pack is considered tops in Major League Rugby.

The first half of the second half was all San Diego. The Legion extended a 24-10 halftime lead into a 38-10 lead within 10 minutes of the second half kicking off. Anytime the Legion made some sort of mistake, they were able to get back and cover it. San Diego was able to shut down any hope Austin had of taking advantage of the Legion mistakes.

Austin lost any momentum they had built up coming into this week. Any chance of making up some ground in the points standings was lost in their poor performance against San Diego. The Legion have shown why they are a dangerous team,but also why they still have a little ways to go. Austin couldn't take advantage of San Diego's mistakes, but other teams will.

The Legion head to the Coney Island, as they face Rugby United New York on Sunday, April 14th. Austin Elite heads north of the border, as they the Toronto Arrows on Sunday, April 14th.


~Josh Fredlund (Photos by Josh Fredlund)