Major League Rugby 11 Week Review

The weekend was kick started with a nail biter of a match between the Old Glory DC who had yet to win a match this season against the Utah Warriors who are struggling to find consistent form. The first points on the board came off some great vision from the Utah fullback, Mike Te’o who went through the gate of a ruck in the midfield to offload to flyhalf, Caleb Makene who dotted under the posts for an easy 7- pointer. Old Glory DC trailed for much of the match but it was in keeping their composure when behind that setup their win, the first half was abundant with great runs in the midfield by both backlines but both defences were resolute.

DC got their first points in the game through a brilliantly worked out try for the winger to dive in the corner but the conversion was unsuccessful. In the 35th minute, Peni Lasaqa produced some captivating winger magic to take the scores level 10-10. Utah came back from the dressing room determined to break the hearts of the home crowd with a dazzling try from a set piece scrum. Utah then took advantage of the lack of concentration by the hosts to take their lead to 11 points through a series of penalty kicks.

Old Glory DC dug deep in what can be described as the comeback of the season as Utah crumbled under the pressure by giving away sill penalties and receiving 2 yellow cards in the final 20 minutes. With a man extra on the field and trailing by 6 points, DC scrummed for their lives and turned over a crucial scrum to score next to the poles and lead 22-21 with three minutes on the clock. The drama was not over as Utah were handed a lifeline to steal the match from the jaws of Old Glory with a penalty kick from 40 metres out but the rugby gods were with the hosts as the kick went wide of the posts to hand Old Glory Dc their first victory of the season. This was a brilliant display of rugby and truly showcases the improvements in the quality of the league along with its competitiveness.

In form LA Giltinis hosted the Houston Sabercats who were desperate for a win to keep their playoff chances alive. LA certainly struggled to keep ball in hand in the opening stages as Houston’s defence forced them to make silly errors. A patient play of phase rugby and good cleaning of the ruck was rewarded with a try to open the scoring. The Giltinis were on the back foot. LA expedited its regroup and after multiple phases forced the Sabercats to concede a penalty which resulted in a penalty try thereafter to level the scores 7-7. The Sabercats continued with their good defensive effort to shut out the Giltinis but experience paid off in the end as the Giltinis took a 14-7 lead in the 27th minute, the score remained so till half time.

The 2d half resumed in the same fashion as the previous with Houston scoring first but missed the conversion to trail 14-12. LA then placed a lot of pressure in the defining part of the half by keeping ball on hand and tiring the opposition as they made a lot of tackles. The LA Giltinis held on to win 17-12. It certainly wasn’t a fancy win but it was well-deserved and worked hard for. Props to the Houston Sabercats who fought till the end but it just wasn’t enough.

In the other matches of the weekend, the Seattle Seawolves saw off the San Diego Legion in a tightly contested match to win 34-32, the Toronto Arrows carried on their new found form at home with a dominating 53-36 win over NOLA and the weekend was capped off with the struggling Dallas Jacks continuing to be the victim of massacres as the Austin Gilgronis showed no mercy to rubber stamp their position as number 1 in the Western Conference with a resounding 55-3 win.

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