Seawolves Stalled by Raptors, Clinch #2 MLR Playoffs Seed
Image Courtesy: Seth McConnell
In their final match of the Major League Rugby regular season,
the Seattle Seawolves took on the Glendale Raptors in a battle
for league standing supremacy. Looking to avenge their only loss thus far at the hands of the Raptors, the Seawolves sought to take over the MLR leaderboard
and secure the #1 seed heading into the MLR playoffs.
But after 80 minutes of physical rugby, Glendale was able to come out on top with a final score of 33-11.
Seattle was first on the board following a successful Seawolves scrum in the 10th minute. Crashing into the Raptors defense inside their own twenty-two,
Mozac Samson got his hands on the ball and
refused to be taken down. Samson kept his feet moving and was able to drive two Raptors back to score his first try of the season. The conversion was
unsuccessful, but the Seawolves took the early 5-0 lead.
Seattle continued to apply the pressure early with quick offloads and runners in support. Making their way within the Raptors’ end of the pitch, Glendale
was hit with a not-releasing penalty after Seattle had the home team on their heels. The Seawolves opted for points and Will Holder slotted it through for three more and an 8-0 lead, 16 minutes into the first half.
Glendale had several opportunities in the first half to score, but the swarming Seawall refused to let the Raptors capitalize when those windows opened.
Glendale’s John Ryberg came
close to scoring in the corner in the 20th minute but was forced out of bounds thanks to the recovering efforts of Jeremy Misailegalu and Aladdin Schirmer.
The Seawolves earned the ball back and pounded the ball right up the center of the field with forward play phase after phase. With penalty advantage
in hand in front of the sticks, Holder saw an opportunity and took it, nailed the first successful drop kick in MLR history. The historic feat added
three points to Seattle’s lead midway through the half, extending the score to 11-0.
The Raptors got the boost they needed to stay in the match in the 34th minute. Following a Seawolves knock on in the contact area, Glendale’s Chad London scooped up the loose ball and ran away with the first points of the game for the Raptors as he walked into the try zone. The conversion was successful,
narrowing the Seawolves lead to 11-7. A few minutes later, Glendale’s freshly earned momentum carried them forward as a secured lineout and mauling
drive in Seattle’s territory provided another chance for Glendale score. The conversion was successful and the Raptors took the lead with a score of
14-11 heading into the half.
Soaring off a late first-half surge, the Raptors were the first to score in the second half. Crisp passing allowed Glendale to break through the Seawolves
defense and increase their lead by five points. The conversion was missed and the score became 19-11 in the 43rd minute. Moments later, a yellow card
against Cam Polson for a dangerous
tackle left the Seawolves vulnerable to the Raptors offense as he headed to the sin bin for 10 minutes. Maximo de Archaval
took advantage of the weakened and scattered Seawall with a kick-pass over the line that London was able to dot down for another Glendale try. The
successful conversion extended Glendale’s lead to 26-11, 50 minutes into the match.
The Raptors continued to explode in the second half with the Seawolves down a player. A breakaway from Harley Davidson saw a strong finish from Connor Cook as Glendale
found themselves back in Seattle’s try zone. With another conversion through the posts, the Raptors stretched their lead to 33-11. Although the Seawolves
continued to fight all the way into extra time, that was where the score would remain to end the match.
Finishing the season with a final record of 6-2, the Seawolves carry the #2 seed into a week of rest before competing in the inaugural Major League
Rugby Playoffs. Seattle will face the #3 seed in the MLR Semi-Finals on June 30 at Infinity Park in Glendale, Colorado. Domestic fans can tune in on CBS Sports and international fans may stream the match from Major League
Rugby’s Facebook page.
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