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Monday, July 2, 2018

Seattle, Glendale Advance To MLR Final

By Elie Mpovie

Seven clubs, thirty-one fantastic regular season matches from April to now, have lead us to the first-ever Major League Rugby Championship Series on Saturday. Played at the home of the number one team, Infinity Park Stadium of Glendale.

From looking at the attendance of the crowd, you can say there was about more than 3,000 people to see a piece of history in the making, but on to the great games that laid ahead.

The first match of the day, involved the second seeded Seawolves of Seattle and the third seeded Legion of San Diego, it was the Legion who would open the scoring with a scintillating try by Pietersen who broke away for 80 meters, dodging and weaving his way through and sitting under the bar for a 7-0 lead. A penalty in the ten minutes after by Tadhg Leader who extend the lead to 10-0. That would jolt the Seawolves after the hydration break, as Shalom Suniula would be set up by Peter Smith to cut the lead to 10-7. Smith would add a penalty to draw the match even as the half-time siren would sound at 10-10.

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The first ten to fifteen minutes of the second half, saw little scoring opportunities and line breaks, that would all change, when Drew Gaffney of San Diego would break the Seattle defence on a 20 meter run to put the Legion back on top at 17-10. Sadly the lead of San Diego would fade away six minutes later, as the two substitutes Alec Barton and Siaosi Mahoni would be sent to the bin for very high tackles. The 15 on 13 man advantage for Seattle would be the difference as tries from centre William Rasileka and a 80 metre interception run by Peter Tibero would have them race to a 24-17 lead. Peter Smith who was perfect on the night in goal kicking would add a penalty later on. The Emerald green and Navy blue would punch a ticket to the Major League Rugby Grand Final with tried from John Hayden and Sequoyah Burke-Combs. A consolation try by Nate Augspurger for San Diego would wrap up the entertaining semifinal.

Full-Time: Seattle Seawolves 38, San Diego Legion 24.

To the main event of the evening, an in form Warriors from Utah would take on the home team and regular season champion, the Glendale Raptors. Just like the first match, fireworks would go off as Sam Figg would take for 60 meters for a try in the first two minutes for a 7-0 lead. Will Magie would add a penalty for a 10-0 lead after 10 minutes. The Raptors weren’t done there, Harley Davidson and captain Shaun Davies would add to the growing lead in a space of two minutes, 22-0. Three minutes later, Tonata Lauti would help stop the bleeding as Utah would finally be on the board as halftime came around with the score at 22-7. Glendale showed that they have the best pack in all of Major League Rugby, the men in canary yellow who take the line out and would take the maul almost 20 meters as hooker Zach Fenoglio would score the team’s fourth try, 29-7. Sticking with forwards, substitute Luke White would add on to the lead with a try of his own in the 63rd minute, 34-7. With the game pretty much wrapped up in Glendale’s favor, Utah would make the last 15 minutes a bit interesting, with tries coming from Maka Tameilau and Don P√Ęti would score the last two tries as the siren sounded to send the Glendale Raptors to San Diego.

Full-Time: Glendale Raptors 34, Utah Warriors 21.

It’ll be 1 v. 2 for the Major League Rugby Championship on July 7th in San Diego.

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