Clinical Free Jacks overcome Rugby New York
Beaudein Waaka top scored with 14 points to move him second in the leaderboard for points scored this season as New England edged Rugby New York in a tight Major League Rugby encounter.
It was a pivotal game for Rugby New York who needed a victory to stay in contention with New England and ATL for a play-off place. However, they were undone in the first half.
Free Jacks took a 17-7 lead heading into the second half, after a few aesthetically pleasing attacking tries. The pick of them came from Waaka who scored a beautiful try off his own chip to chase down and beat four New York defenders.
— Major League Rugby (@usmlr) April 24, 2022
It was a pulsating game in the second half, with both teams scoring try after try to setup a fantastic finish.
Rugby New York had a 26-24 lead with four minutes to go, but New England seem to have something different about them compared to other sides this season. This time their backs combined perfectly to find the space, and unlock a determined New York defence, to score and take the final result to 29-26 in favor of the Free Jacks.
Old Glory thrash Dallas to leave the Jackals winless in 11
Old Glory make it two wins from two and continue to leave Dallas winless in their inaugural season.
DC fly-half, Rohan Saifoloi scored one try and kicked four conversions to top score with 13 points.
Old Glory scored eight tries to record their biggest victory of the season so far. They bossed Dallas on overall attacking play (144 to 101 passes) as well as ball carries (131 to 84) and breakdowns won (93 to 77).
This was Dallas’ best chance for a victory this season, but it petered out to be one of their worst performances of the campaign. They will take some positivity in their attacking play, but this is not a defensively cohesive team.
Many teams struggle in their first season and Dallas will hope they can take on board lessons learned from their first season in Major League Rugby and improve next season.
They are now playing for pride and will hope they can find a win from their remaining games.
San Diego Legion 17 – 30 Rugby ATL
It’s now three losses in a row for San Diego who saw their grip on second place quickly fade away.
On the other hand, Rugby ATL edge closer to play-off glory. Their forward pack were pivotal in a strong defensive and attacking display, which helped them control the game.
ATL fullback, Joaquin De La Vega Mendia top-scored with 1 try and a penalty kick (8 points), while Marko Janse van Rensburg completed another try to keep him joint top of the try-scoring leaderboard, with eight so far this season.
Influential former New Zealand international Ma’a Nonu couldn’t salvage a win for Legion, although he put in a convincing performance to finish with 48 metres kicked and 9 tackles completed.
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Utah Warriors 14 – 20 Seattle Seawolves
The race for the Western Conference play-offs are heating up as Seattle move into third and look to chase down LA with a vital win against the Warriors.
It was a tight, competitive encounter with both teams fighting all the way to the end. Up until the 62nd minute Utah had a 14-13 lead, but a fantastic attacking try with quick ball movement in the midfield allowed Hattingh Riekart to power over and Seattle held on to the end.
Seattle captain Riekart scored the Seawolves two tries and finished with eight ball carries in an influential performance.
Utah flanker, Lance Williams celebrated his 50th cap with a try, 12 tackles and 67 metres ran, but couldn’t help his team fight for a victory.
— Major League Rugby (@usmlr) April 24, 2022
Houston SaberCats 29 – 17 Toronto Arrows
Like Seattle, the SaberCats have put themselves in a position to fight for the second play-off place in the Western conference with a fantastic victory over Toronto.
A man-of-the-match performance from Houston inside-centre, Louritz Van der Schyff earnt him the Major League Rugby “Player of the week award”.
Van der Schyff scored two of Houston’s four tries, completed 13 ball carries, with 136 metres ran and 15 tackles to play a pivotal role in an important win for Houston.
With Toronto now 10 points behind ATL in 2nd and having played a game more, it’s looking like their play-off hunt could be coming to an end. Forward, Lolani Faleiva scored two of their three tries, but they couldn’t convert their man advantage and penalty count to beat 14-man Houston.
— Major League Rugby (@usmlr) April 26, 2022
NOLA Gold 10 – 32 Austin Gilgronis
The Gilgronis continue their dominant streak with a convincing victory in New Orleans.
A solid foundation of rugged defence and a kicking game to outsmart NOLA Gold, proved a winning formula for Austin who have now won four games on the bounce.
Gilgronis hooker, Hugh Roach finished with 1 try, 75 metres kicked and 6 ball carries to guide his team to a 32-10 victory and prepare for a Western match up against Seattle in Round 13.
The Conference Standings
Rugby ATL prepare for redemption against LA Giltinis
Rugby ATL (8-2) v LA Giltinis (7-3), Saturday 30th April 3:00pm (ET)
In a repeat of last season’s Championship game, Rugby ATL and LA Giltinis face off again both with hopes of securing their position for the post-season play-offs.
It pits the second best in the East against the second best in the West and there is very little to separate the quality of these two sides heading into a vital fixture.
Rugby ATL are third highest for points scored this season (296), while LA lie sixth with 253 scored so far, both from 10 ten games played. On the other hand, Giltinis boast the best defence having conceded 146. ATL are also strong in defence, placing third highest in the table having conceded 205.
The key player to look out for from LA will be number 8, Hanco Germishuys. He is in scintillating form having scored tries in four of the last five games played for the Giltinis to leave him joint top of tries scored with seven for the season.
He is joint top with Rugby ATL hooker, Marko Janse van Rensburg. The South African has had a fantastic season so far and is a key player both in defence and offence for Atlanta.
LA are on a fantastic run, but this is the biggest test they’ve had for a few games. ATL are a formidable force at home and while it will be a close encounter the pressure is on Giltinis to get a win. The race for second is close in the West with only five points separating 2nd to 5th. While ATL have an eight-point advantage over Rugby New York in third in the East.
Prediction: Rugby ATL to win by 3
- New England Free Jacks (9-1) v Utah Warriors (2-8), Saturday 30th April 4:30pm (ET)
- Dallas Jackals (0-11) v San Diego Legion (5-6), Saturday 30th April 8:00pm (ET)
- Rugby New York (6-4) v NOLA Gold (3-8), Sunday 1st May 3:00pm (ET)
- Austin Gilgronis (9-2) v Seattle Seawolves (6-5), Sunday 1st May 7:00pm (ET)
You can catch the highlights of all Round 12 fixtures on the Major League Rugby YouTube channel here.