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Sunday, March 21, 2021

The Rugby Network Wins Week 1

After a full year away, MLR is finally back. In preparation for Saturday's games, we busted out the TV screens, bought ingredients for (something resembling) chili in the crock pot, and invited the lads over as we dialed up "The Rugby Network" for what seemed a lot like an NFL Redzone Sunday, but better. Love how the MLR had multiple games running at a time. The staggered kick off times allowed for the non stop action to roll for 4+ hours. And could we have a better day of attack, and scoring? In the 5 games on Saturday, each team averaged just above 28 points. Who doesn't love scoring? How freakin gooooood?

The Rugby Network hit the spot on Saturday ...

RUNY 36 - SD Legion 29

The Butcher and his pack were clinical, scoring twice off the rolling maul. Game was played at a pop up stadium in what appeared to be one of the side fields of old Sam Boyd Stadium that used to host the Vegas 7's stop for many years. Give credit to sideline reporter Jillian Lopez (don't worry, she's blue check verified), who was asked to give sideline reports in a wind storm ... she said she could feel the on-field intensity of both teams, and even without a crowd, the game had some punch.

San Diego had moments, and showed they can flip the field and score at will. They will be playing an uphill battle all season as they live away from home, in a sinful city with no sinning (I doubt players are hitting the strip w Covid protocols). Shout out to Matt McCarthy (the Rugby Media G.O.A.T.) who called the game (over the internet, I think). Doing play-by-play can't be easy through a live stream, but he certainly brought the energy like RUNY did to seal this win late. 

LA Giltinis 42 - NEFJ 27

Giltinis were clinical. Plain and simple. The tries AND cards kept coming all day in The Coliseum. John Poland received the first (experimental) red card when he accidentally kicked a Giltini in the face. Billy (William) Meakes was silky smooth all day, facilitating great lines from his aussie buddies. It was all smiles for the expansion team, and a track meet for their backline. Todd Clever stole the show, rocking the man bun and crushing the sideline reporting.

Rugby ATL 21 - Toronto Arrows 14

Stifling defense on both sides. The dreaded duo of Chance Wenglewski and Connor Cook is menacing. They pilfered ball all day, and kept Toronto's attack in check. A late poach by Ross Deacon with his heels on the goal line was the difference. Arrows have a tough trip to Utah next week and need to bounce back.

Utah Warriors 30 Austin Gilgronis 28

So the rugby world met "sports personality" Jim Knox (who looks like a Cuomo / Skip Bayless love child). Jim was sprinting around the stadium interviewing anyone and everyone. Guy just runs on another level, and I'm sure we won't see the last of this character. In the actual game, Utah played great. Lance Williams dotted in the corner on a great finish, Michael Baska snagged 7pts with a cheeky shoulder dip move to score under the posts, and twitch streamer SlimTucci was a thorn in the side of Austin in the 2nd half. Mack Mason had a chance to win it late, but the kick from 50+ meters came up short.

Is Jim Knox the "human fireball" we were promised at Bold Stadium??? 

Houston Sabercats 30 - Seattle Seawolves 24

Sabercats played some amazingly opportunistic rugby. Zack Pangelinan went the length of the field. Taylor Howden threw a frozen rope of a pass that connected with Matias Freyre who finished strong and got the rock over the line for a try. Props to Seattle for fighting, but it wasn't enough as the Cats defend the Cat Den and start the season hot.

Old Glory 26 - NOLA Gold 26

Not part of the Saturday slate, but was happy to watch it Sunday ... plus we got to hear Dan Power call not one but TWO games in a weekend. Is there anything better than hearing DP say "15 minutes can save you 15% or more on car insurance ... ? Can we finalize his own personal Geico ad already. The Gecko doesn't have shit on Dan Power.

Heartbreaking tie for both clubs (they probably both think they should have won), but this game may have been the chippiest all weekend. NOLA dominated territory and, but kept getting turned over near the try line. Some of the calls were 50/50 balls, but the home crown was giving it to the officials calling the game (the band playing 3 blind mice is all time). OG had some fantastic backline moves, and the  Tusitala / Robertson pairing is filthy.

What a weekend! PICKEM!

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