There were shocks, big scores, and two hat-tricks in a ferocious round of fixtures in last weekend’s Major League Rugby.
With Rugby New York’s loss to the Free Jacks, Rugby Atlanta took advantage and topped the Eastern Conference at the end of the weekend’s play.
While NOLA Gold registered a famous victory over two-time champions Seattle Seawolves to secure their first win of the season.
NOLA Gold pick up shock first win against Seawolves
In what proved to be the tightest contest of the weekend, NOLA Gold picked up their first victory of the season by edging the Seattle Seawolves 25-24 in their own backyard.
Openside flanker Devin Short shone for the Gold. Mixing attacking intent with a defensive steal he made nine carries, 15 tackles with 100% accuracy, and three defensive steals.
— NOLA Gold Rugby (@nolagoldrugby) March 7, 2022
Ultimately, it was the penalty count that was the defining factor in the Gold’s victory. Full back, Heinrich Meyer successfully converted all six of his penalty kicks, while AJ Alatimu missed one of his five attempts which proved crucial in the final score.
Meyer scored top scored with 20 points in the game. His boot proved to be the key factor in propelling the Gold to 1-3 for the season so far.
However, the Seawolves will be worried about their recent slump. They have lost two games in a row after starting the season 3-0. Captain and influential number eight Riekart Hattingh alongside their recognised kicker, fly-half Alatimu, will be looking to their defence to help have a greater impact in the next match-up against Houston SaberCats in Round 6.
Don’t you just love it when a play goes as planned?
— Seattle Seawolves Rugby (@SeawolvesRugby) March 5, 2022
Utah pile more misery on Jackals with an emphatic record-setting victory
It is quickly becoming a first season to forget for the Dallas Jackals. In the bottom of the Western Conference match-up, they were totally outplayed by the Utah Warriors.
Everything fell into place for the Warriors as they broke a Major League Rugby record. With a 69-22 victory over the Jackals, Utah registered the highest score in a single game for a team in the history of the league. Assistant coach for the Warriors, Shaun Davies said that “we came out firing” and they certainly lived up to that statement.
With 10 tries and a hat-trick from winger, Mika Kruse, the Warriors cruised to victory as the Dallas Jackals buckled under pressure. Even though Utah had less carries (110 to 122) and made more tackles (189 to 185) it was the shocking defence of the Jackals that proved the significant detail in the win for the Warriors. With 12 penalties conceded for Dallas, Utah made sure they paid for their mistakes.
— Utah Warriors Rugby (@utwarriorsrugby) March 7, 2022
Where do Dallas go from here? They’re bottom of the Western Conference with the worst defensive record (228 points conceded) and left with five losses from five games. They have a week to get over the hangover succumbing to the worst result in the history of the league and will need their defence to improve drastically before they entertain a resurgent NOLA Gold.
Rugby Atlanta top Eastern as van Rensburg scores hat-trick
Topping the Eastern Conference at the end of the weekend by one bonus point, Rugby Atlanta edged the Houston SaberCats 29-22 in a close encounter.
Hooker, Marko Janse van Rensburg displayed his versatility with a hat-trick of tries in the first half as Atlanta steamrolled ahead. But, not before Houston scored a try within the first 90 seconds of play.
Halftime score from The Snake Pit
3 tries for van Rensburg in the first half!
— Rugby ATL (@RugbyATL) March 5, 2022
Atlanta’s set piece play proved key. Their lineouts and mauls were executed to perfection and van Rensburg dually pounced on the SaberCats defensive inabilities. They also defeated Houston on ball carries (120-109) and tackles (193-154) which ensured they had the edge in a tightly contested encounter.
Houston have now lost three in a row. After a strong 2-0 start to the season, which included an opening round win to reigning champions LA Giltinis, they will be looking to bounce back against an underwhelming Seattle Seawolves who themselves are in a bad patch of form.
Rugby New York 29 – 38 New England Free Jacks
Beaudein Waaka is now the league’s leading try-scorer as the Free Jacks beat Rugby New York at the JFK Stadium.
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Waaka converted four of his team’s five tries and one penalty to top score with 21 points.
The result moves New England up to 3rd in the Eastern Conference level with Rugby New York, who endured their first loss of the season.
Austin Gilgronis 22 – 9 LA Giltinis
Austin remains the only unbeaten side in the league with a convincing display over LA. Is inconsistency going to be a major factor in the Giltinis season? They play the Utah Warriors next.
Round 6 Schedule Key Match-Ups
- It’s top of East v top of West in what proves to be an enthralling encounter between Rugby Atlanta and Austin Gilgronis.
- San Diego Legion and Rugby New York are ready to pounce on the loser of the top of the table clash. Whoever wins this could lead their respective conference.
- Can top scorer Beaudein Waaka propel New England Free Jacks back into contention in the East? They face Toronto Arrows in the all Eastern battle.