Round 3 | First XV, Player of the Week
- Loosehead Prop, Jamie Dever (Houston SaberCats) – Jamie proved his mettle in the scrum opposite San Diego’s Paddy Ryan, providing needed stability in the attacking platform of the SaberCats. He did the hard yards for Houston, leading the team with 14 carries.
- Hooker, Matt Harmon (New Orleans Gold) – With Howard away with Canada, Matt filled those shoes, providing accurate lineout throws for the Gold, helping run their set-piece. Hooking the ball efficiently on all 13 Gold scrums, Harmon provided excellent tempo off the attacking platform.
- Tighthead Prop, Morgan Mitchell (Toronto Arrows) – Morgan put an excellent shift as the pillar in the scrum for the Arrows, putting on an 80-minute performance. Carrying the ball 9 times for 46 meters and two tackle breaks, he led the team with 21 tackles on defense.
- Left Lock, Lou Stanfill (San Diego Legion) – Is the old USA Eagles veteran putting his hand up for a return to international play? Lou put on a physical display for the Legion, making the hard carries in the midfield to punish the Houston defense. Lou attacked the breakdown on defense to help the Legion gain two steals at the ruck.
- Right Lock, Apisai Naikatini (Seattle Seawolves) – Working into form over the past three weeks, Api proved important on defense for the Seawolves with 16 tackles. On offense, Naikatini carried the ball 12 times for 53 meters, pushing the Seawolves side forward to stay in the match — scoring a try and try assist from one of the lock’s three offloads.
- Blindside Flanker, Eric Duechle (Seattle Seawolves) – In the absence of Vili Toluta’u, The Beast is back. Eric’s work rate throughout the match was immense with 17 tackles. He also proved a powerful runner, carrying the ball seven times for 80 meters.
- Openside Flanker, Zack Stryffeler (New Orleans Gold) – Zack’s consistency over the past three weeks cannot be denied. On Sunday against the Seawolves, he went to work again making 13 tackles as the heart and soul of the defense. On attack, he carried the ball 12 times for 73 meters — with a keen offload for a try-assist to Tikoisuva.
- No 8., Riekert Hattingh (Seattle Seawolves) – As the main lineout option for the Seawolves, Riekert accurately snatched throw-ins from Coetzee and Shepherd. Riekert carried the ball powerfully on the attack with 11 carries for 71 meters. With three tackle-breaks, he found one of the few holes in the NOLA defense to score a try late in the match.
- Scrum-half, Marcelo Torrealba (Austin Elite) – On a night when it didn’t go Austin’s way, Torrealba took control and dictated the tempo for the Elite with his service out of the ruck. Putting the ball in play with his kicking game to gain on 135 meters from five kicks, he scored the Elite’s lone try by burning through the middle of Toronto’s defense.
- Fly-half, Joe Pietersen (San Diego Legion) – Sometimes you need to be a running fly-half and sometimes you are one. The field general controlled the pitch with his 12 booming kicks in play for 344 meters. Coupled with his ability to slice through the Houston defense with the ball in hand, Pietersen made 87 meters on seven carries with two line-breaks, three tackle-breaks, and an offload.
- Left Wing, Josua Vici (Houston Sabercats) – Vici scored Houston’s only try against Legion while refusing to go down, even carrying two guys on his back at one point. Playing through a late-game injury, strength, and resilience were key factors for Vici.
- Inside Center, Spencer Jones (Toronto Arrows) – Spencer Jones got it done in the midfield on Friday night for the Arrows. Making 10 tackles on defense, Jones carried the ball six times for 55 meters, with one try assist to Avery Oitomen, one line-break, and one tackle-break on the attack.
- Outside Center, Dan Moor (Toronto Arrows) – Finding himself in the right position throughout the match against the Austin Elite, Dan scored one of the Arrows’ three tries to help bring the Arrows record to 1-1 in their Major League Rugby campaign.
- Right Wing, Tristan Blewett (New Orleans Gold) – The defensive spark plug for the Gold, Tristan made one of the more momentum shifting tackles of the match when he tackled Ben Cima deep in Seawolves territory. He scored an important try in the second half to deflate the Seawolves comeback.
- Fullback, Jean Pierre “JP” Eloff (New Orleans Gold) – JP continues to be a disruptive force for the NOLA Gold, slicing through opponents for 153 meters on nine carries, making four tackle-breaks and offloading at the right time. Putting the ball in play with his kicking game, JP made 351 meters from nine kicks to put pressure on the Seawolves in their own half.
Player of the Week: Fullback, Jean-Pierre “JP” Eloff (New Orleans Gold) – Through the first three games of Season 2, JP has been the offensive fire-starter for the New Orleans Gold. JP’s vision on attack dictated the tempo for the New Orleans Gold in week three, whether he ran through a hole in the defense or kicked the ball downfield — scoring 14 points to be points leader for week three.
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