MLR Week 15 Preview

With just 5 weeks left of the regular season, the race for the play off spots in intensifying even further with Austin Elite Rugby travelling to the big easy to take on NOLA Gold, Glendale Raptors host Utah Warriors, Toronto Arrows take on San Diego Legion in Toronto and RUNY host Houston SaberCats in Brooklyn.

NOLA Gold Vs Austin Elite Rugby

The Elite take on the Gold on Saturday May 4th at Gold Stadium. Kick is at 4pm EST with tickets available for purchase through the NOLA Gold store.

The last time the two sides met was on March 23rd when the NOLA Gold snatched victory from the jaws of defeat with a last minute try from substitute scrum half Michael Baska. This was probably the Elite’s best game all season and would have been a massive coup and possibly kick started their season if they could have got a win against the league leaders. Sadly for Austin Elite, they are still in search for their first victory of the season and for much of the season this win has looked elusive as ever.

NOLA Gold on the other hand despite losing to the Seattle Seawolves by a single point in week 13 are in second position in the standings just a single point behind the San Diego Legion who have had an incredible second half of the season. NOLA are 3 and 2 in their past five games.

With NOLA Gold breathing down San Diego’s neck, they will be desperate to retain the top position in the league, as they have done so for most of the season. It is hard to look past them getting the win at home this weekend.

Prediction: NOLA Gold.

Glendale Raptors Vs Utah Warriors

The Warriors for a second week in a row will host at their beautifully set Zions Bank Stadium. The game kicks off at 9pm EST Saturday night.

Glendale have at times been utterly electrifying, particularly on the counter attack through their exciting back three of Dylan Taikato-Simpson, Harley Davidson and John Ryberg. Ryberg in particular has been in great try scoring form this season. Ryberg currently has 11 tries to his name and is the league’s top try scorer.

The Raptors had an impressive victory in New York against RUNY last week and look to be playing well. With 3 wins out of their last 5 including a victory over the then league leaders NOLA Gold, form appears to be on their side.

The Warriors have one win in their last 5 games with that victory coming against bottom of the table Austin Elite Rugby last weekend. The Warriors were good value for their win in this game as they secured the winning bonus point and played some incredible rugby. Fetu Ľu Vainikolo in particular showed why he is the all time top try scorer for the Tongan nation team scoring an incredible try in which he beat 6 Austin defenders to score.
However with just 16 points from 11 games versus Glendale’s 37 points, it would be hard to argue with the league standings.

Prediction: Glendale Raptors.

Toronto Arrows Vs San Diego Legion

The game of the weekend sees the Toronto Arrows host San Diego Legion. The game kicks off on Sunday at 2pm EST at Lamport Stadium. Tickets available via Arrows store.

San Diego Legion have had a magnificent run of form over the past few weeks and have had a great second half of the season which kick started at the end of March when they beat the Seawolves in a bruising encounter. Since that win they have gone on an unbeaten run taking down RUNY, Glendale Raptors and the SaberCats along the way.

The Arrows have won three of their last five games with their most recent victory being a comprehensive victory over the Seattle Seawolves in which they won 29-7.

The Arrows have at times been incredibly free flowing in attack and have so far accumulated 10 bonus points (2nd highest in the league), however the Legion defence is what’s set them apart this season. Remarkably, the Legions points difference is +136 points. The Legion do not conceded points easily and this could be the deciding factor on Sunday.

Prediction: San Diego Legion.

RUNY Vs Houston SaberCats

RUNY who sit in 4th place in the league host 8th place SaberCats at MCU Park in Brooklyn on Sunday at 5pm EST.

There’s been a lot of hype around RUNY in the last week surrounding the signing of French international Mathieu Bastareaud how the focus this weekend will be on the remainder of the season and securing the playoff spot.

RUNY’s achilles heel has no doubt been their lack of bonus points this season. NOLA Gold have accumulated the same amount of losses and wins as RUNY, yet they lie in second place just a point behind leaders San Diego.

RUNY welcome Ross Deacon back into the starting lineup after being injured for the last 2 games. Deacon is a huge ball carrier for the New York outfit and will no doubt be itching to get on the ball on Sunday.

The SaberCats are on a bad run of form in recent weeks, having lost four out of their last five games. The SaberCats have at times played well in games throughout the season but their lack of quality in the final third of the pitch has seen them struggle to score tries.

The SaberCats have instead relied heavily on Sam Windsor for points who has delivered but one feels that penalties from the boot of Windsor will not be enough to see off this RUNY side.

Prediction: RUNY.

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