MLR Week 2 Wrap-Up
NOLA Gold 40 – 31 Glendale Raptors
New Orleans subjected Glendale to their second successive loss this season. Nate Osborne’s side opened the scoring just four minutes into the game with JP Eloff kicking a penalty. Eloff was kicking from the tee just seven minutes later, this time the USA international was converting Taylor Howden’s powerful try, the New Zealand-born centre bumping off two of his opposite numbers to burst over the try line.
William Munro then benefitted from the hard work of John Ryberg and Dylan Taikato-Simpson on the left wing, flyhalf Robbie Petzer converted the score. Gold kept ahead when Zack Stryffeler latched onto the ball at the back of a driving maul, the openside flanker’s try went unconverted.
Glendale began to get a foothold in the game — Eloff split the sticks after the Gold went in at the side of a ruck. John Ryberg scored a second try in two weeks as the Raptors scored from the back of a scrum, Petzer was unable to convert for the visiting side. Eloff nudged the Gold ahead further with a penalty that brought an end to the first half.
The second half started much like in the first half did. Taylor Howden treated the fans in Louisiana to another mesmerizing score, this time the centre threw off his opposition by faking a pass on two occasions to drift through and touch the ball down, Eloff converted his teammates score.
Glendale then scored two unanswered tries; Luke White powered over the line for a converted try after continued pressure in the NOLA 22 meter channel, Monro scored an impressive try, even dragging over two of his opposite numbers with him to register an effort.
NOLA hit back with two quick-fire tries. Australian Scott Gale raced through, going virtually unchallenged as he dotted down to give NOLA the advantage, Eloff did not convert the try. Gold would be at it again just three minutes later, this time Tristan Blewett, NOLAs offseason signing linked up with former Australian Sevens regular, Con Foley, to gift Eloff another conversion.
Brendan Daly, the Glendale lock, made it a nervy ending, scoring a try in the 73rd minute. The big lock was driven over the line, allowing Taikato-Simpson a conversion to give NOLA a nine-point lead. It was a seriously physical ending. Several players were forced off for both sides, but it was NOLA who held on to make it two wins from two.
San Diego Legion 17 – 13 Seattle Seawolves
Fans who made the journey to the Torero Stadium on Saturday afternoon weren’t treated to vintage San Diego weather. A continuous downpour through the game even translated to the pitch, but the game was still as competitive as MLR fans have become accustomed to.
There weren’t too many highlights for the opening quarter of the game, there were plenty of scrums due to handling being hampered by the wet conditions. Joe Pietersen was forced off for the Legion after a high hit from William Rasileka. Phil Mack was sin-binned for not rolling away at a ruck and minutes later fans got their first score of the game.
Paddy Ryan got the better of Olive Kilifi on several occasions in the scrum, resulting in the referee awarding Legion a penalty try. Seattle must have gained some motivation from their opposition getting the rub of the green, making a charge forward that was halted illegally at the ruck. Brock Staller took full advantage of the situation, slotting the kick to bring the Seawolves back into contention.
San Diego extended their lead further with a Mike Te’o try. The former USA Sevens regular took a quick throw in the Paddy Ryan, who fed the ball back to Te’o who used the wet surface to slide in over the try line. This presented Nick Boyer with a difficult conversion on the right touchline, that the Eagles scrum-half dispatched to give San Diego a 14-3 lead at half-time.
Over half time the rain intensified, making the players readjust when they came back onto the field. It took ten minutes until the first score of the second period. Boyer kicked a penalty to increase the San Diego lead.
San Diego began to lose their control, Seattle slowly managed to turn the tide. Eventually scoring through a strong Rasileka try. Staller converted the try, but the Seawolves still had seven points to make up. Seattle would reduce the deficit to four points with another Staller penalty, but San Diego held on for a hard-fought win.
Read about Utah’s win over Austin Elite, here.
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