ROUND 1 | FIRST XV OF THE WEEK
Round 1 | First XV, Player of the Week
By Aaron Castro, MLR Staff Writer
Loosehead Prop, Blake Rogers (Glendale Raptors) – When the Raptors needed to go forward from a ball carrier, Shaun Davies found Rogers to burst through the gainline in the center of the pitch.
Hooker, Chris Schade (Austin Elite Rugby) – Chris Schade played 80-minutes for Austin both at hooker and prop. Working the Austin set-piece he scored Austin’s first try of the match off a driving maul — giving Austin the lead following Mickael Romera’s conversion early in the first half.
Tighthead Prop, Paddy Ryan (San Diego Legion) – The Wallaby and Super Rugby veteran brought significant stability to the Legion Scrum immediately on Sunday. In the open field, he was a powerful ball carrier, helping force the tackle count higher against New York to generate fatigue.
Left Lock, Taylor Krumrei (Seattle Seawolves) – The strong lock out of Oregon continues to raise his hand for the USA Eagles with 80 minutes of play, completing 15 physical tackles around the park for the Seawolves.
Right Lock, Josh Larsen (Austin Elite Rugby) – Putting in an excellent shift in the engine room for Austin, Josh also found himself with the ball scoring Austin’s second try of the match regaining the lead for the Elite mid-way through the second half.
Blindside Flanker, Kyle Baillie (New Orleans Gold) – The Canadian surged through the gainline leading to NOLA’s third try of the match when Con Foley found the try zone.
Openside Flanker, John Moonlight (Toronto Arrows) – Johnny Moonlight just retired from Canada 7s, but he still has plenty of rugby to play at the professional level. He was in and around every ruck in clear outs or jackaling to gain possession, leading the team with 23 tackles made. He scored the Toronto Arrows first Major League Rugby try.
No 8., Cam Dolan (New Orleans Gold) – The USA Eagle established his presence moving from the Surf to the Bayou with 90 meters made, earning two try-assists offloading the ball to Scott Gale and Tim Maupin.
Scrum-half, Santiago Arata (Houston SaberCats) – The tempo of the Sabercats offense was impressive with the service out of the ruck by Santiago, but it was his foot skills that shifted the balance kicking the ball in play gaining 100 meters on four kicks for the Sabercats.
Fly-half, Sam Windsor (Houston SaberCats) – Houston’s master-tactician saw a 7-for-7 performance on kicks for the night, amassing all 21 of the SaberCats’ points, and resulting in a 21-20 road-win for Houston.
Left Wing, Connor Wallace-Sims (Rugby United New York) – Putting in an 80-minute shift for New York, Connor made 71 meters on seven carries, scoring New York’s second try from an offload by Luke Hume.
Inside Center, Shalom Suniula (Seattle Seawolves) – The Seawolves captain put on an impressive shift in the mid-field going the distance for 80 minutes completing 16 tackles.
Outside Center, Tristan Blewett (New Orleans Gold) – Tristan’s work rate on defense made him look more like a back row than a center, jackaling the ball away from Toronto at the breakdown and completing 20 tackles. His all-around game put him over the goal line for one of NOLA’s six tries.
Right Wing, Brock Staller (Seattle Seawolves) – Brock scored a beautiful try off a chip kick to himself at pace, recovering and taking it over the try line with two Raptors on his heels. Leading the team with 122 meters made he accounted for 15 of Seattle’s 20 points making him the third leading scorer in Major League Rugby after week 1.
Fullback, Luke Hume (Rugby United New York) – Making himself a nuisance for every Legion defender, Luke Hume hit the gap and offloaded at the perfect time, with two try-assists, leading to the first two tries of the match by Chris Mattina and Connor Wallace-Sims.
Player of the Week: Fly-Half, Sam Windsor (Houston Sabercats) – Making tough choices in the driving rain on Saturday. The Rook went seven for seven from the tee scoring all 21 points for the Houston Sabercats, keeping the mantle of Major League Rugby’s leading scorer.
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