Week 17 of the MLR kicks off this weekend with San Diego Legion at the top of the table with NOLA Gold in second place trailing by a single point. The Toronto Arrows in 3rd place in the standings have a week off but fourth and fifth place teams Seattle Seawolves and RUNY are also in action this weekend.
On Saturday NOLA Gold host the Houston SaberCats, Seattle Seawolves travel to Glendale to take on the Raptors and Utah Warriors play San Diego Legion in Utah.
Sunday sees RUNY host Austin Elite Rugby in MCU Park.
NOLA Gold Vs Houston SaberCats
NOLA Gold host the Houston SaberCats this Saturday at 3pm EST. The Gold will be hoping to bounce back with a win after last weeks defeat to the San Diego Legion.
This week it was announced that NOLA Gold signed 2 further players this week. Ross Depperschmidt is an inside center and signed a contract upon impressing during a trial period, while US Eagles outhalf Tadhg Leader joins from the New England Free Jacks on load until the end of the season.
Leader could provide vital experience in the final leg of the season which sees the Gold trailing the Legion by a single point. Leaders game management and kicking was exemplary during the Cara Cup and could provide the competition to push JP Eloff to an even higher standard of place kicking.
The SaberCats lying in 8th position are on a tough run coming off the back of last weeks heavy defeat to RUNY in which they lost 21-0. The SaberCats are 0 from 5 and the task at hand does not get any easier with the in form NOLA Gold. The SaberCats have relied heavily on the boot of Sam Windsor to get points on the board but with an offensive team like NOLA, penalties could be few and far between.
Prediction: NOLA Gold.
Glendale Raptors Vs Seattle Seawolves
The game of the weekend sees Seattle Seawolves travel down to Colorado to take on the Glendale Raptors. The game kicks off at 6pm EST in Infinity Park with tickets available through the Raptors store.
The Raptors are currently in 6th position, 2 points behind RUNY in the standings. Glendale have a tough final couple of games as they travel to Toronto in 2 weeks time to take on the Arrows in their final game of the regular season. That being said, the Raptors will need to get a result out of this game to remain in contention for a playoff.
In recent weeks the Raptors have had good wins against NOLA Gold and more recently against RUNY so they have momentum on their side and have proven that they can take down a big team. If the back three are on their game, the Raptors can beat most teams in the league.
Seattle bounced back from a difficult loss 2 weeks ago with a 38-31 victory over RUNY. In what was truly a game of 2 halves Seattle bursted out of the blocks with a terrific first half performance. They did however let RUNY back into the game in the final ten minutes as RUNY scored 2 tries to make it a closer contest.
Seeing out a game is something the Seawolves will have to master to not only win this game but also to achieve a playoff position.
Prediction: Glendale Raptors.
Utah Warriors Vs San Diego Legion
San Diego Legion will travel to Utah this Saturday hoping to extend their lead at the top of the table. NOLA Gold have a game in hand but still trail the Legion by a point. San Diego are on an impressive run of form, losing just one of their last 5 games. That defeat game at the hands of a Toronto Arrows side who have looked incredible at home.
San Diego have looked the most impressive side in the MLR with a particularly strong second half of the season. Since mid March the Legion have lost only one game.
The Warriors make one change to the starting line up from last week as Don Pati moves to the wing in place Fetu’u Vainikolo and James Semple comes in at full-back. Vainikolo has been one of the better Warrior players this season so it will be interesting to see if he comes off the bench at any stage to make an impact.
Prediction: San Diego Legion.
RUNY Vs Austin Elite Rugby
RUNY host Austin Elite in another home game at MCU Park on Sunday at 1pm EST. RUNY are still advertising tickets for the game through their store, while the game will be televised through ESPN+, SNY and can also be watched via Facebook Watch.
RUNY have not been on a good run in recent weeks having lost to Seattle Seawolves last week, they have also tasted defeat at the hands of Glendale Raptors and San Diego Legion in recent weeks. RUNY are currently 2 wins from 5 and are in 5th position, 2 points behind Seattle Seawolves in fourth.
Austin Elite Rugby have had a very disappointing season, having lost all 13 games played and accumulating just 4 bonus points (Second lowest in the league). The Elite have had some moments where they played well most notably when they narrowly lost out to NOLA Gold back in March, however on the whole they have not performed well enough and the standings do not tell a lie.
Given that RUNY face NOLA Gold next week and travel to Toronto to take on the Arrows the week after, they really need to win this game to keep their hopes of reaching the playoffs alive, because neither of the aforementioned games are a given by any stretch of the imagination.