Round 2 | First XV of the Week
Loosehead Prop, Franco van den Berg, (Utah Warriors) – Franco provided much needed front line depth for the Warriors at the loosehead position, putting in an 80 minute shift and making hard yards as a ball carrier, taking the ball 38 meters on eight carries. Defensively, he made eight tackles for the Warriors.
Hooker, Logan Daniels, (Utah Warriors) – The addition of Logan Daniels fixed the Utah Warriors lineout issues from season one, increasing the accuracy to 80% in their first run of the season. With 11 carries and 67 meters, he gained valuable territory for the Warriors.
Tighthead Prop, Paddy Ryan (San Diego Legion) – The vice captain demonstrated experience in the scrum, winning the battle against Olive Kilifi and his replacement Kellen Gordon. In the open field he gain meters after every contact with the defense. Following a head knock to Joe Pietersen, he guided the Legion to a hard fought over the Seawolves.
Left Lock, Ben Mitchell (Austin Elite Rugby) – Ben Mitchell’s form is reminiscent of season one with the fitness to go 80 minutes for the Elite. As the chief lineout threat and strength providing the drive for the Elite scrum, he also gained 43 meters on five carries and eight tackles on defense.
Right Lock, Keni Nasoqeqe (San Diego Legion) – In his second MLR start, the Fijian veteran out of Belmont Shore put on a tremendous shift for the Legion. Finding work frequently around at the breakdown for the Legion attack, he also gained valuable territory, making 53 meters on seven carries.
Blindside Flanker, William Munro (Glendale Raptors) – Showing the agility learned on the tennis court, William went to battle for the Raptors, finding the dirty work and the golden egg. Munro scored two tries, gained 104 meters on 14 carries and made three first-phase line breaks.
Openside Flanker, Vili Toluta’u (Seattle Seawolves) – The “Smiling Assassin” remains the heart and soul of the Seawolves, leading the defense with 19 tackles and eight tackle assists on Saturday. Before leaving late in the second half, he also amassed 83 meters gained on 12 carries.
No 8., Kane Thompson (New Orleans Gold) – Moving to the back row in his second appearance for the Gold, Thompson made 10 tackles on defense with some key carries on attack. His greatest impact was being an intimidating presence, establishing the breakdown firm for the Gold and challenging the Raptors’ rucks.
Scrum-half, Nick Boyer (San Diego Legion) – Nick piloted the Legion ship out of the storm to victory over the Seawolves in a revenge match from last season’s semi-final. Showing that he’s still keeping his kicking boots warm, he scored five of the Legion’s points on a penalty and conversion in the absence of fly-half Joe Pietersen.
Fly-half, Timothee Guillimin (Austin Elite) – Guillimin was the primary scorer for the Elite, putting up all nine of their points from the kicking tee. He made the correct decision to go for the losing bonus point while under pressure. Defensively, Guillimin accounted for 10 tackles.
Left Wing, Nick Johnson (Glendale Raptors) – Subbing in early for injured Harley Davidson, Nick put in a 70-minute shift on the wing, making 98 meters on nine carries for the Raptors.
Inside Center, Tim O’Malley (Utah Warriors) – Bursting onto the scene for the Warriors, Tim O’Malley was a major part of the Warriors attack, putting the ball in-play on five kicks, gaining 214 meters. O’Malley lead the Warriors with 73 meters gained on nine carries, scoring seven points with a penalty and two conversions.
Outside Center, Taylor Howden (New Orleans Gold) – Moving the ball beautifully on attack, Taylor’s vision led to two important tries that set the tone for the Gold the rest of the match.
Right Wing, Mikey Te’o (San Diego Legion) – Mikey Te’o is back. The weapon on the wing will always make another guy miss and he did just that, burning into the corner for a leaping try. Te’o attacked the breakdown like a bulldog throughout the match.
Fullback, JP Eloff (New Orleans Gold) – Eloff scored 15 points for the Gold on Saturday — three conversions and three penalty kicks. In the open field, he attacked with a vengeance, breaking three tackles on six carries and gaining 103 meters.
Player of the Week: Outside Center, Taylor Howden, (New Orleans Gold) – When you need a veteran to set the tone for a squad during an international window, the old war horse, Taylor Howden, is the man to lead your side: scoring two tries for the NOLA Gold, he set the tone early and put the Raptors on their back foot for the rest of the match.
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