Colton’s Corner: Week 3
Colton’s Corner will be a weekly feature on five topics from around MLR.
Toronto Defeats Austin 23-19
I think I speak for many Major League Rugby fans when I say that it’s super disappointing to see Austin go winless through the first three weeks of the season. What makes it even more disappointing is the fact that they’ve been extremely competitive in all the matches that they’ve played — they just can’t seem to get over the hump. After speaking with Elite captain Ben Mitchell last week, they know how close they are and how massive that first win will be for their season. On the other hand, it was nice to see the Toronto Arrows, a team that so many people expected to be near the top of the table come season’s end, pick up a hard-fought, comeback win over a hungry Austin team. Austin’s time is coming, but they are going to have their hands full with a winless Glendale team coming to town next weekend.
San Diego Defeats Houston 17-13
“We are building our squad depth. We had a great impact off the bench today. This will be critical as all the games are so tight and with the length of the season ahead.” – San Diego Legion head coach Rob Hoadley
The 2019 San Diego Legion is like the tides. They just keep coming and they will eventually wear down their opponents if they let them hang around long enough. Saturday night’s match against the Houston SaberCats was the perfect example. Houston relied on some very strong defense down the stretch in the second half but ultimately couldn’t make all the stops they needed to put the Legion away in the end. If the last two weeks have told us anything about the Legion it’s that they will find a way to win. As I wrote in Week 1, Houston always has a shot when Sam Windsor is on the field and that proved to be true again in Week 3 as he has had his hand in every point the SaberCats have scored this year. Combine that with the effort that they have played with this season and they have a chance to make a real run at things when they clean up some small errors.
“I was very, very proud of the effort with the ball and without it. I can’t fault that and that’s the foundation of any good rugby team. We just lacked a little bit of tactical appreciation in key moments in the second half and we paid the price for that.” – Houston SaberCats head coach Justin Fitzpatrick
NOLA Defeats Seattle 41-31
It’s safe to say that the biggest story of the young season is the NOLA Gold. These guys can put up points – they’ve scored 36, 40, and 41 through three weeks – and they can do so in a hurry. One thing that’s proven to be true through their first three matches is the fact that they don’t blink when they run into some adversity. Every time their opponent manages to claw their way back into the game, the Gold slam the door in their face. They can also hit you from every angle. Their big men can bully you, their backline can blow by you and if they cross over the 50-meter line, they’ve got kickers that can nail penalty goals. They still need to prove they can do it all on the road but after big wins over both of last year’s finalist’s in back-to-back weeks they have completely earned any praise that they receive.
Rugby 100 Club
I had the pleasure of speaking to Richard Martin, the co-founder and director of Rugby 100 Club this week about everything that he is doing with his club. If you haven’t heard of the Rugby 100 Club, it’s an organization that is aiming to bring the energy of Starfire Stadium, the Seattle Seawolves home field, to all of the away games by planning affordable trips for the fans. The next time you see the gang of Seawolves fans at an away game on the broadcast, that’s more than likely them. The organization took shape the day after the inaugural MLR Championship when Martin and his partner Graham Oliphant noticed that the plethora of Seawolves fans that made the trip down to San Diego was spread out amongst the stadium. They took it upon themselves to create an entity that would not only allow the Seawolves fans to sit together at the matches but also find ways to fully experience and enjoy the cities that they are visiting as well. Perhaps the most impressive part of it all is that planned all these trips as soon as the schedule came out, so they’ve done a significant amount of work in a compressed amount of time. The MLR is all about growing the game and this organization is one of the best ways to do exactly that. What better way to fall in love with the game than to travel with some friends to a new city and take in a match with opposing fans that will likely turn into friends as well? I will get to experience the Rugby 100 Club for myself later in the season and I am excited to share my experience with you all after the fact.
Appreciating the Fans
After speaking with Richard Martin, I really tried to pay close attention to the fans during this week’s slate of matches. We’ve had the opportunity, because of the way the schedule is set up, to kind of observe the crowds of the team’s that have played a majority of their matches at home this season. Fans show up for winning teams regardless of the sport, and it has been fun to see the fans roll in for both New Orleans and San Diego each week and really be engaged with what’s happening on the pitch. As long as the product is good, and it has been so far, the people will come and the game will grow. That’s what this league is all about.
What did you think about this week’s action? What did I miss? I would love to hear from any and all MLR fans as the season moves along. Feel free to shoot me an email at [email protected] with any MLR related topic that might be on your mind. I’ll address any emails in the next week’s Colton’s Corner.
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