Colton’s Corner: Week 6 With Luke White
Colton’s Corner will be a weekly feature on five topics from around MLR.
Rugby United New York Bounces Back With 35-8 Win Over Houston SaberCats
Rugby United New York, like the Toronto Arrows the week before them, bounced back from a tough loss on the road against the Seattle Seawolves with a big win over the Houston SaberCats. This match was particularly important for RUNY because they picked up their first bonus picked up their first bonus point of the season with the win. Fifth place in the table seems a little low for a 3-1 team, but they haven’t been able to really put teams away until Saturday evening. Their 13 points through four games puts them right in the mix for the playoffs. Houston, on the other hand, finds themselves with only six points through four matches. There is still plenty of time to right the ship, but will need to make some serious adjustments as their minus-eight try differential is tied with Austin for the worst in the league.
NOLA Gold Stuns Utah Warriors 21-19
NOLA Gold’s first loss of the season came at the hands of RUNY right before last week’s bye, so Saturday night’s walk-off win in the snow had to feel extra good. To sweeten the deal, NOLA also reclaimed their spot atop the table that they lost the week prior, leapfrogging the San Diego Legion who also happened to be on their bye week this past weekend. I’m sure that these last two weeks won’t be the last time we see San Diego and NOLA trade spaces in the standings. As for Utah, this match was their second in two weeks in which they held leads well into the second half and didn’t come out with a victory. A draw to Glendale a week earlier and this heartbreaking loss to NOLA has to be frustrating largely because they have the biggest gap to close to move up just one position in the table as five points separate them and the sixth place Toronto Arrows. On the Brightside, Utah has picked up points in three of their four matches. When they start finishing their matches, they should be able to climb the table pretty quickly.
Glendale Raptors Shut Out Toronto Arrows 22-0 in the Snow
If you watched any of the NOLA – Utah match and the Toronto – Glendale match, you know that it was snowing on both sides of the Rocky Mountains on Saturday night. A lot of people might not know that March is typically Colorado’s snowiest month. Even after a few days of temperatures in the high 40s and low 50s, it’s not uncommon for a snowstorm to roll through. That is exactly what happened in Glendale on Saturday night. That snow made for an interesting match between the Arrows and the Raptors. To be quite honest, I didn’t expect to see a single successful scrum just based on the amount of snow on the pitch, but the Toronto scrum had the Raptors on skates. Glendale deserves a ton of credit for fighting their way through the conditions and finding a way to not only win, but shut out the Arrows in the process. Rugby players are tough, but the Raptors and the Arrows took that toughness to an entirely new level on Saturday night and deserve the respect of every rugby fan as a result.
As we hit Week 6 of MLR’s second season I couldn’t help but notice that three of the four teams atop the league table are teams that qualified for last year’s playoffs. We as observers won’t get to see these teams at full strength until the Americas Rugby Championship concludes next weekend, so that leaves every team with a little over half of their season remaining to make a push towards this year’s playoff. Both Toronto and RUNY have had excellent seasons to this point and I don’t think it would be surprised to anyone to see one, if not both, of those clubs in this season’s playoffs, but it does make me wonder how valuable the experience of last season is for San Diego, NOLA, Seattle and Glendale.
A Conversation With Glendale Raptors’ Captain Luke White
I completed an internship with the Glendale Raptors in 2016 as a junior at Colorado State University. Before the Raptors competed in the MLR, they were a powerhouse in the Pacific Rugby Premiership. One of the largest parts of my duties as an intern that season was to write the player biographies of Glendale’s men’s and women’s Division I sides for the team website, so I got to know a handful of members on those teams. The Raptors’ current roster looks a lot different than the one that they fielded during that 2016 PRP season, but one of the few people still on the team is Luke White. I’ve had the opportunity to watch White play four of his five seasons as a Glendale Raptor pretty closely, so I know that he is on a different kind of tear five games into his second season in the MLR. I had the opportunity to catch up with White and ask him a few questions about his season after the Raptors’ 22-0 victory over the Toronto Arrows on Saturday night.
1) Is this the best you’ve played?
“Yeah, I definitely think this is some of the best rugby I’ve played for sure consistently week in and week out. About a bit more than a year and a half ago I tore my ACL in my knee, so it was a bit of a tough ride coming back from that. Last season in the MLR was my first season back from that injury and I was sort of just getting back on track with my fitness and what not. That season and a really strong preseason has got me into a lot better shape, and I think I’m back to playing some of my best rugby.”
2) What does it mean to you to be the captain of this team?
“It’s definitely a huge honor. I love this team and this club. This is my fifth season now with Glendale and it’s definitely become my second home after Sydney, Australia. I’ve always loved this club and the feeling of what they’ve got going on here in Glendale. I’ve bought into the culture from the first day that I was here and now, when our captain Shaun (Davies) steps away on USA Eagle duties I am more than happy to put my hand up and captain the side. I’m really enjoying it and I think that the boys are enjoying it too. It’s a great experience for me because I’ve been captain before but never at this high senior level so it’s definitely a great experience for me.”
3) How has last year’s loss in the MLR Championship driven you guys this season?
“It was definitely a downer last season to come through at the end and not win it. It was one of those things that we beat Seattle twice during the season, and when it comes to the game that matters we went down but on that day the better team won. Obviously, that left a bit of a sour feeling inside of us of not getting the job we wanted to get done completely. It’s definitely put some fire in the belly, and yeah this season didn’t start the exact way that we wanted to but I think we are building on that now and we are getting better and getting some consistency. We’ve got a good chunk of our away games out of the way, and now we’re at home so that should make things easier for us.”
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.
Dan and Major League Rugby referee, Scott Green, sit down to discuss
Loosehead Prop, Djustice Sears-Duru (Seattle Seawolves) - Djustice stabilized the Seawolves set-piece
Week 16 Awards: Resourceful Arrows soar in the standings with two bonus-point wins in four days while Mat Turner spurs Seawolves to victory
MLR announces Player, Team and First XV of Week 16 Salt Lake
Colton’s Corner will be a weekly feature on five topics from around
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