MLR Week 2 Recap

Warriors 39—New England Free Jacks 33

The first match of the week set the tone for the rest, as Utah held on to hand New England its first MLR loss.

A 13-12 match at halftime was opened up by back-to-back tries from the Free Jacks. Ill discipline proved the squad’s undoing, however, as Utah took advantage of two New England men in the bin to get right back in it. In the end, it was the Try of the Week at 76′ that sealed this one for Utah.

RUNY 49—Austin Gilgronis 31

Credit coach Greg McWilliams for shaking up the roster after a disappointing 2020 debut. After a flat start last week, Mathieu Bastareaud moved into the pack at #8 and his impact was felt all over the pitch. He scored the game’s first try at the back of a driving maul, helped set up the second by drawing the attention of the defense and had a number of nifty offloads and big tackles throughout his shift.

Moving the big Frenchman to the pack played double dividends, as Bastareaud’s replacement at 13, Cal product Troy Lockyear, scored two tries in his RUNY debut.

Rugby ATL 22—NOLA Gold 10

Rugby ATL continues to impress, with a 2-0 start to its first MLR season. NOLA Gold struck first with a try from Lindsey Stevens at the back of the maul, and this defensive affair was just 7-5 at half.

Back-to-back penalty kicks gave Rugby ATL an 11-7 lead at 53′ before Carl Meyer responded 10 make it 11-10 four minutes later. That would be all the points for NOLA on this day, however, as the ATL defense held with Rury Van Vugt scoring a late try to seal this one.

San Diego Legion 49—Colorado Raptors 22

Can anyone stop the Legion? The impressive start continues with a second straight dominant win, this one over a Raptors’ squad that falls to 0-2.

It was back and forth early, but a first half run that included Ma’a Nonu’s first MLR try saw San Diego turn a slim 10-8 lead into a 31-8 advantage. Colorado got it within 31-22, but the result was never much in doubt. The Legion look like a team on a mission.

Toronto Arrows 27—Houston Sabercats 22

One of two matches this week decided in stoppage time. Houston had a two-man advantage, and used just about all 15 players in a maul that started at the Toronto 22. Houston powered across the try line but was held up as as the Arrows needed all 83 minutes to secure this one.

The Sabercats nearly stormed all the way back from 24-5 down but will drop to 1-1 on the year as the Arrows improve to 2-0.

Match of the Week: Old Glory 28—Seattle Seawolves 22

Not just the Match of the week, but the Match of the Year, thus far. And it’s not really close. Tendai “Beast” Mtawarira’s presence was immediately felt as he helped stabilize the Old Glory scrum, which was on roller skates alst week. Local product Dante Lopresti (Potomac Exiles) showed hooker might be his spot moving forward as, likewise, he helped the DC lineouts. But this one was about the drama.

The DC hosts struck first and second for an 8-0 lead, but Seattle was only getting started. A couple of Seattle PKs made it 8-6 before fullback Dylan Taikto-Simpson found wing Doug Fraser, in what has the makings of a devastating combo in the back three. Another Seawolves’ PK made it 13-9 at the break. The second half is when the fun truly began.

It took only two minutes for Seattle to close it to 13-12, then another two to take the lead 19-13 via a nice phase that led to a #8 Riekert Hattingh try. Then it was Old Glory’s turn to chip away with a PK from fly half Jason Robertson 19-16. Seawolves’ wing Brock Staller followed up with ayet another penalty conversion and the advantage was again six, 22-16.

Wing Roberts-Te Nana took one in next and Robertson hit the pivotal conversion to give Old Glory the lead, 23-22 with 21 minuted to go. The scores held for 18 minutes before the home team scored again, but the conversion was no good to give the Seawolves a chance.

True to to form, Seattle showed its championship mettle, turned the ball over on the kickoff, and got deep in Old Glory territory. The Seawolves crossed the try line at 80+, but were held up as DC secured its first MLR victory in its home debut.

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