MLR Week 1 Wrapup: Glendale, NOLA, Seattle Claim Wins - Video Highlights & Full Match Video Seattle v San Diego
The MLR kicks off this weekend, seven teams in the league, three matches per weekend. Games are available for viewing from a number of sources but for Canadian viewers the league promises to have all games (except perhaps the CBS games) available on their Facebook page.
The match reports and scores are listed below, full match video of Seattle v San Diego is available below as well.
Houston Sabercats 26 v NOLA Gold 35
The Sabercats will be licking their wounds after this loss at home. The Sabercats had won the first preseason match between the two, tied the second and now they lost the third, the one that counted. Was the 16 game preseason from November to April too much, beyond preparation and into player fatigue? The Sabercats may be in denial, they still won't admit the final score. Both NOLA and the MLR league have the score posted as 35-26 but Houston have 32-26 on their facebook page and website. Houston face Austin Elite next week at home, NOLA get to bask in their win during a bye week, then face Austin Elite on May 3rd.
PREGAME These two teams have met twice in preseason, Houston winning the first 30-12 at home and the second was a draw in New Orleans 32-32. Houston weren't happy with their performance in the second match and they missed some penalty kicks that could have been the difference. Houston have had the most preseason preparation of all the teams, will it prove beneficial when the season starts or will they show signs of fatigue. They won their last match on the road against San Diego Legion 33-17. Their preseason record 12-2-2. The only two losses were to the Uruguay National team (which went on to beat Canada) and the UBCOB Ravens of our own BC Premier league. Ontario Arrows and NOLA were the two teams to earn a draw. NOLA Gold won their last match over Austin Elite 48-17. Austin Elite look to be early candidates for the wooden spoon based on preseason results. Two Canadians Hubert Buydens and Eric Howard are in the front row for NOLA. Houston at home should have the edge. Prediction: Houston by 8.
Glendale Raptors 41 vs Austin Elite 26
Glendale still look the class of the field early on and keep their #1 ranking. Austin scored the first try and it was 7-3 for the first 30 minutes for Austin. Glendale scored their first try from a clever grubber through the line from flyhalf Will Magie, that was at 32 minutes into the match. Their second try at 37 minutes was through hard work from the forwards close to the line. Their 3rd try again was a result of their power game in the forwards with big second row Ben Landry touching it down, 24-7 at the half. Glendale continued their scoring four minutes into the second half with a well worked try, many phases, and no errors. Their #15 Maximo de Achaval eventually touching it down, 31-7. Achaval was born in Texas but learned his rugby growing up in Argentina. At 47 minutes Glendale get a bit of luck, awarded a try that the replay shows was dropped, there are no TMO's yet in the MLR, 38-7. At 48 minutes Glendale get their first red card, Ben Landry with a dump tackle. At 51 minutes Hanco Germishuys Austin's #7 scores a highlight reel try, 38-14. The South African American scored a similar try against Canada in the RWC qualifiers, he's one of the best loose forwards in North America.
Austin get another one back through the forwards after a series of penalties against Glendale, 38-21, there's 20 minutes left in the match. At 71 minutes Glendale get their second red card with what looked like some embellishment from the tackled player Todd Clever. Glendale get a yellow and are playing with 12 men to finish the match, final 41-26. BC's Chris Assmus was the referee in the match.
PREGAME This could be the top and bottom teams meeting early although Austin have added Todd Clever to their roster which should improve their form. The Raptors are the most established squad of the seven, they were playing together in the Pacific Rugby Premiership in 2015. They likely will be challenging for the top spot when June rolls around. Austin does get kudos for a creative roster video (below). Prediction: Glendale by 14.
Three penalty tries from a dominant scrum was the story of the day. The props Kellen Gordon and Tim Metcher deserve a lot of credit, Olive Kilifi came on in the second half and continued the dominance. Brock Staller scored the first try and Cam Polson added a second half try. The Seattle backline needs some work, their flat passing game created the Staller try but resulted in a number of handling errors and turnovers as well. George Barton and Mozac Samson are in with a good shot of a start in future matches based on the backline performance today. This win belongs to the forwards and particularly the front row. Next week two undefeated teams as Glendale visits Seattle.
PREGAME Seattle haven't really had a preseason and that could hurt their start, how game ready will they be? They won a closed scrimmage over a poor Prairie Wolfpack team but we just saw Utah dismantle the Prairie Wolfpack. The Seattle team are stacked with BC Premier players so obviously we're going to be partial in our opening prediction. San Diego split their preseason, beating Austin Elite but losing to Houston Sabercats. We think Seattle can pull this one off and then improve as the season progresses. Prediction: Seattle by 5.
Seattle notes, no sign of young Canadian players George Barton and Nakai Penny, also veteran Mozac Samson isn't in the match day 23.
Utah Warriors - Bye week
If you use the Ontario Arrows as a measuring stick then Utah are just below Houston in playing strength. They have a good selection of Pacific Islanders so will play a physical style of rugby.
BCRN MLR Preseason rankings 1. Glendale Raptors 2. Houston Sabercats 3. Utah Warriors 4. Seattle Seawolves 5. NOLA Gold 6. San Diego Legion 7. Austin Elite
BCRN MLR Week 1 rankings 1. Glendale Raptors 2. Seattle Seawolves 3. NOLA Gold 4. Utah Warriors 5. Houston Sabercats 6. San Diego Legion 7. Austin Elite