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MLR Week Five Recap: Upset City

Photo Credit: Josh Fredlund

Week five of Major League Rugby is in the books and could go down as one of the best weeks in Major League Rugby history. Games were spread out over three days, which allowed for three days of rugby. Some teams will feel hard done; but in the end, the results are the results.

Colorado Raptors 22-19 Toronto Arrows

These two teams met in Colorado last year during a blizzard. In both matches Colorado scored 22 points, but this year Toronto managed 19 points. Both teams did whatever they could to let the other team win as handling errors and breakdown penalties were numerous. In the end the Raptors did just enough to walk away with the win.

The Raptors got tries from John Ryberg and Mika Kruse. While Gastón Mieres dotted down the Arrows only try. Both Robbie Petzer and Sam Malcolm were a perfect 4/4 on penalties. Three yellow cards were also handed out. Rene Ranger, for a silly professional foul, and Marco Fepulea’i, for a high tackle, were sent to the sin bin for the Raptors. And for the Arrows, Andrew Quattrin was shown a yellow card for a high tackle.

The Raptors head to the nation's capital next week, as they will face Old Glory in DC on Sunday, March 15th. The Arrows get a bye week before heading to New York to face Rugby United New York on Friday, March 20th.

New Orleans Gold 31-22 New England Free Jacks

The kicking game is an under appreciated part of rugby. And it proved the difference in this match, as Carl Meyer kicked the Gold to victory. Both New England and NOLA scored four tries, but the Free Jacks only converted one of them and missed their one penalty kick attempt. Meyer has been a very shrewd pick up for the Gold this season.

John Poland has been a spark plug for New England this season. Last week, his try almost lead a comeback against San Diego and this week he had two tries that kept the Free Jacks in this match. Cam Dolan continues to show he is one of the best in Major League Rugby. He perfectly read a New England pass and sprinted 40 meters for the intercept try.

New Orleans has a short week as they head west to face Utah on Friday, March 13th. New England hosts their first home game ever, as they host the SaberCats on Saturday, March 14th.

Austin Gilgronis 24-20 Houston SaberCats

For the first time since June 2018, Austin has won a Major League Rugby match. The team beat the SaberCats to claim the Texas Cup. The first 75% of the first half was all Houston. The SaberCats jumped out to a 17-0 lead before the Gilgronis responded with a Tiaan Erasmus try. This also lead to Kurt Morath's first points in an Austin jersey.

Sam Windsor continued his single man efforts as he was the only person on the score sheet, besides a penalty try, for Houston. Frank Halai was close to making it three tries in three weeks, but the SaberCats cover defense was able to get over and stop him just short of the try line. Houston had a late chance to win, but were called for obstruction after the maul broke off. Austin then played slow ball to wind down the clock and then kicked the ball out for the win.

Austin heads home, with the Texas Cup, as they prepare to face the undefeated San Diego Legion on Sunday, March 15th. The SaberCats head east as they will face the New England Free Jacks on Saturday, March 14th.

Utah Warriors 33-31 Seattle Seawolves

In what will probably be one of the best matches of the 2020 Major League Rugby season, the Utah Warriors scored a try in the 88th minute to beat Seattle. The Seawolves committed numerous penalties that allowed the Warriors to continue to extend the play. Utah continued to put the pressure on Seattle and finally, Calvin Whiting broke through the Sea-Wall to score the winning try.

The return of Ben Cima has proved fruitful for the Seawolves. Cima's boot has been one of the best in MLR and just wasn't enough this match, as the Warriors hung tough. Utah's confidence has improved a lot after this win, as they showed they can compete with the best of them. Seattle might not be the same team they have been, but they still are one of the most dangerous teams in Major League Rugby.

The Warriors return home to host one of the top teams in MLR, as the NOLA Gold come to town on Friday, March 13th. The Seawolves get ready for another long trip, this time they head east to MCU Park in Coney Island, Brooklyn to face Rugby United New York on Sunday, March 15th.

Old Glory DC 31-29 Rugby ATL

Old Glory DC held on to win their fourth match in a row. Rugby ATL raced out to a 14-3 lead, but DC methodically worked their back into the match and then traded scores with Atlanta before pulling into the lead with a try from  Danny Tusitala. A penalty kick from Jason Robertson pushed DC in front just enough to survive a late try by Alex Maughn.

What looked to be a boat race by ATL, turned into a great match. Both sides battled and in the end, Old Glory was able to hold on by the thinnest of margins. Even without the Beast, Old Glory's scrum was up to the task when it mattered. Both teams have things, good and bad, that they can take away from this match.

Old Glory stays home to face the Colorado Raptors on Sunday, March 15th. Rugby ATL heads into a bye week before returning home to host the New England Free Jacks on Sunday, March 22nd. 

San Diego Legion 24-20 Rugby United New York

The Legion had a quiet day offensively, but made a big stand defensively. Tira Patterson had himself a day, as he finished with two tries. A try from Josh Furno and late stand by the Legion defense sealed the win for San Diego. The Legion spent the last eight or so minutes inside their own 22 meter line. RUNY got close a couple times, but were denied by San Diego.

Rugby United New York had a good chance to hand the Legion their first loss of the season. They had the lead at halftime, but couldn't hold onto it. Will Leonard got the Roosters close, but Leonard was subbed off after being knocked for a loop by Keni Nasoqeqe. New York had a great opportunity to win this match, but were kept out of the in-goal area by the Legion.

The Legion now head on the road, as they head to Texas to face the Austin Gilgronis on Sunday, March 15th. New York now head home for their first home match of the season, as they host the Seattle Seawolves on Sunday, March 15th.

~Josh Fredlund