Gilgronis dominate Houston to return to top in Texas Cup
Austin return to the top of the table in the Western Conference and win the Texas Cup against rivals Houston.
Gilgronis winger, Julian Dominguez, is back amongst the tries as he scored two in the game, but it was fly-half, Mack Mason who ran the show top-scoring with 14 (1 try, 3 conversions and 1 penalty successfully kicked).
Austin took a 17-5 lead into half-time scoring two tries to Houston’s one, alongside a penalty kick. The second of the Gilgronis tries was particularly special as quick ball movement across the field enabled Dominguez to find his scoring touch again.
Huge try before the half for @Gilgronis ! And who else but Julian Dominguez to bring all the momentum Austin’s way
— Major League Rugby (@usmlr) April 4, 2022
Austin set the tone for the rest of the match two minutes into the second half. Scoring with driving maul off a lineout, their strength in the mauls and rucks were too powerful for the Houston defence.
Dominguez’s second try was almost as slick as his first. Quick offloads in the middle of the park had the SaberCats defence in a mess and, after being sent a no-look pass from fly-half Mason, Dominguez raced through to take his tally to six tries for the season.
The 🍒 on top. Dominguez with his second of the match to seal this one for the @Gilgronis
— Major League Rugby (@usmlr) April 4, 2022
Houston couldn’t find a score in the second half as the Gilgronis return to the top of the Western Conference and win the Texas Cup in fine fashion.
Clinical San Diego make Warriors pay
San Diego beat Utah 40-25, in a pulsating game and a result that cost Warriors head coach, Shawn Pittman his job.
After both teams responded with early penalties, Legion scored the first try on the 20th minute. Quick ball movement at the breakdowns proved crucial as number 8, David Tameilau slotted over.
A fantastic breakdown turnover enabled Legion to setup their second try of the game as winger, Bjorn Basson confirmed control of the match for San Diego.
Utah scored their first try on the stroke of half time, but Legion immediately restored their lead at the start of the second as Bjorn Basson sent a neat offload to Jason Higgins to score their fourth try of the game.
Utah scored again to try and claw back the score, but penalties proved key as Joe Pietersen’s boot increased the score enough to ensure Legion took the win heading into a massive Round 10 match up against Gilgronis.
Pietersen top scored with 20 points in the game. He is the leading points scorer in the MLR this season with 84 in total.
LA Giltinis 47 – 7 Dallas Jackals
Reigning champions LA are the in-form team in MLR having now won three in a row after their shock loss to Utah in Round 6.
Second row, Luke White was named MLR player of the week for the Giltinis as his 15 ball carries, 142 metres covered, and 12 tackles exemplified LA’s grit and ruthlessness.
— Major League Rugby (@usmlr) April 5, 2022
It was another helpless defensive display for Dallas who conceded seven tries to one. They now have the worst defensive stats in the league having allowed 50 tries and 341 points.
Rugby New York 35 – 31 Old Glory DC
It was a thriller in New York as what was undoubtedly DC’s best performance of the season so far, but they didn’t quite have the quality to get their first win of the season.
Ultimately, it was accuracy and taking full advantage of the points that proved key. Rugby New York converted all 3 of their conversion opportunities and scored under the posts in their other 2 tries scored for maximum points in all 5 tries. While DC could only manage 2 from 4 conversion attempts.
Rugby New York host LA in the prime-time game of Round 10. DC will head to Toronto on the back of a promising offensive performance knowing that they have a chance to grab their first win if they play as well as they did here.
New England Free Jacks 33 – 29 NOLA Gold
Top of the East, Free Jacks continue their fantastic winning run, but NOLA Gold took them to a very close encounter in a thrilling game.
NOLA Gold’s attacking intent was on show. They overcame New England in passes (204 – 132) and ball carries (121 – 111), but when it really mattered New England had the quality to finish the game off with more tries than NOLA (5-4).
The top three tacklers in the league after 9 rounds all come from New England and that really tells the story of why they can find something extra when their backs are against the wall.
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Toronto Arrows 14 – 20 Rugby ATL
Toronto couldn’t do to Atlanta what they accomplished against Rugby New York in Round 8 and find a win.
It was a win that Atlanta needed to keep the pressure on New England. Influential prop Marko Janse van Rensburg scored another of ATL’s two tries to become the league’s leading try scorer with 7.
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Toronto’s prop, Andrew Quattrin was again their best player with 1 try, 13 ball carries, 13 tackles and 78 metres made. They will be looking for his power and precision to elevate the team in Round 10 when they host Old Glory DC in Round 10.
Gilgronis and Legion set for Western showdown
It’s the battle of the top two in the East as we’re setup for a monumental showdown this week in San Diego.
It pits top scorer for the Legion Joe Pietersen (84), against Gilgronis influential fly-half Mack Mason who has 53 points and is 6th on the leaderboard for points.
While wingers, Julian Dominguez (Austin) and Bjorn Basson (San Diego) are coming off match winning games in fantastic form. Dominguez has six tries for the season (tied 2nd overall), while Basson is only two behind with four (tied 7th overall).
It’s a game that you simply can’t miss and too close to call. However, Legion have come up short in big games against big teams this season, recently losing to LA and Rugby New York. That could give a slight edge to the Gilgronis.
Prediction: Gilgronis to win by 5
San Diego Legion (5-3) v Austin Gilgronis (6-2), Sunday 10th April 5:00pm (EST)
In-form Giltinis looking for victory against New York
In the prime-time fixture, it’s West coast v East coast as LA Giltinis host Rugby New York.
Both lie third in their respective conferences and will look to heap pressure on the teams directly above them.
Rugby New York have been struggling of late. They only managed a four point win against Old Glory DC in round 10 and the week before they lost to Toronto Arrows.
While LA have won three in a row and are on a roll. Their defensive solidity will be vital in what will be a bruising match-up. They lie 2nd in both tries (16) and points (134) conceded.
Prediction: Giltinis to win by 7
LA Giltinis v Rugby New York, Sunday 10th April 7:00pm (EST)
- Toronto Arrows (4-4) V Old Glory DC (0-8), Saturday 9 April 12:00pm (EST)
- New England Free Jacks (7-1) v Seattle Seawolves (4-4), Saturday 9 April 4:30pm (EST)
- NOLA Gold (3-5) v Rugby ATL (6-2), Saturday 9 April 8:00pm (EST)
- Houston SaberCats (4-4) v Dallas Jackals (0-8), Saturday 9 April 8:00pm (EST)
You can catch the highlights of all Round 9 fixtures on the MLR YouTube channel here.