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MLR Week 12 Results: Bad Turf, Slow Play, & Weather Delays

Photo Cred - Josh Fredlund

In week 12 of Major League Rugby, the teams at the top continued to separate themselves, while the teams at the bottom continued to struggle. There ended up being only three games this week instead of four, as the Austin Elite at Toronto Arrows match was postponed due to flight cancellations in Texas.

NOLA Earns Sloppy 28-19 Win

The NOLA Gold maintained their lead on top of the Major League Rugby with a sloppy match against the Utah Warriors. The Gold looked like they would be getting out to a good start as Tristan Blewett was in the right place, at the right time for another intercept try. However, after that try it seemed like NOLA didn't take the visitors seriously.

Unfortunately for Utah, they couldn't take advantage of the poor start by NOLA. By the time Utah had their first serious chance, Cam Dolan had already extended NOLA's lead. Johnny Ika got the Warriors on the board, after he was able to dive under a Nick Feakes tackle for the try. Hubert Buydens earned himself a 10 minute break before the try, by cynically slowing down play.

Utah got on the scoreboard again with a try from Josh Whippy, but the Warriors defense let them down twice. First, JP Eloff found James Semple all by himself and stepped around him for the easy try. Then after Lance Williams got the Warriors back on the scoreboard, Taylor Howden found himself in under the sticks after an offload from Michael Baska.

A win will never always be pretty, but NOLA has some concerns to work out here. Utah couldn't fully take advantage of their opportunities and that cost them a potential victory. There were multiple times that Utah had play deep in the NOLA territory, but couldn't finish as the NOLA defense stood tall. Utah can take some good things away from this match, but they still have some things to work on.

NOLA now travels to the Pacific Northwest to face the Seattle Seawolves on Sunday, April 21st. The Utah Warriors head east to Coney Island to face RUNY on Saturday, April 20th.

Seattle Spoil Houston's Stadium Opening, 52-10

In a completely different outcome from their first match earlier this season, the Seattle Seawolves simply outclassed the Houston SaberCats in the first match at AVEVA Stadium. After waiting until the last 10 minutes in the first match to pull away for the win, the Seawolves were only leading 13-5 at halftime before stepping on the gas and winning the match 52-10.

One thing that needs to be talked about before we start talking about the match is the turf at AVEVA Stadium. At the conclusion of the match, the field looked like the tee box at the 18th hole of The Masters after a round of golf. The turf was so bad, that referee Derek Summers directed the teams to play uncontested scrums. It's no wonder, nobody walked away with a twisted ankle. 

This was just a master class of rugby in the second half from Seattle. Houston could just not get any momentum going. Their scrum advantage was neutralized with the uncontested scrums and they couldn't do much from the backline. Seattle just waltzed through the SaberCats defense in the second half. The only good piece of play was Thretton Palamo scoring on his debut.

This is what Seattle needed after a couple of sloppy weeks of play. Just a straight demolishing of the Houston SaberCats. The only thing they'll need to work on is their slow start as it caught up to them against San Diego and has come close to costing them a couple of other times. Houston, I don't know what to say. They're hot and cold. They just need to play a consistent 80 minutes of rugby.

Seattle now gets ready to host the 1st place team in MLR, as they welcome the NOLA Gold to StarFire Stadium on Sunday, April 21st. Houston now travels north of the border to face the Toronto Arrows on Sunday, April 21st.

San Diego Wins 29-19 In Foggy Weather

The San Diego Legion must really enjoy early mornings because this match against Rugby United New York started at 10 am pacific time. It looked like the opposite at the start of the match, with RUNY jumping out to a 12-0 lead. New York started this match quickly with Nate Brakeley and James Denise going over for trys before the Legion could get out the gate.

The Legion finally woke up after that. As they scored two unanswered trys, one each from Savenaca Totovosau and the Australian Paddy Ryan dotting down for trys. New York would get the momentum back before halftime with Mike Petri going over for the try. The second half was all San Diego as they score three trys, including a penalty try, to take home the victory.

Coming into this match, the matchup to watch was between the forward packs. These teams have two of the top scrums in Major League Rugby. After watching this match, we can safely put San Diego near the top of the league, while RUNY drops to the middle. San Diego had their way with RUNY in the scrum. RUNY's only counter was to delay putting the ball in and getting early push penalties called.

One thing that should probably be mentioned here is the refereeing in this match. Elgan Williams is a Welsh referee brought in by MLR to support this season. There were times that both sides had questions of the referee including down near the try line. San Diego committed multiple penalties near the try line, but weren't punished. Yet, RUNY commits two on one play and gets a penalty try called against them. Yellow cards could've been given in a couple situations, but Williams kept them in his pocket. Williams is a good ref, but some of his decisions have left some players with questions.

San Diego now heads back to the west coast as they prepare to host the Glendale Raptors on Saturday, April 20th. RUNY gets to stay home, as they welcome the Utah Warriors to Coney Island on Saturday, April 20th.

Austin Elite vs Toronto Arrows - Postponed

With weather conditions causing flight cancellations in Texas, the Elite couldn't escape the storm and Major League Rugby decided to postpone the match. The teams, along with MLR, are deciding when they can reschedule this match.

Standings



~Josh Fredlund