Week 17 produced a huge upset with the Houston SaberCats taking down NOLA Gold on their home ground. Seattle Seawolves ran out convincing winners against the Glendale raptors despite the Raptors showing some good form recently while San Diego clinched victory over Utah, thereby securing their place in the last 4 championship. RUNY also defeated Austin Elite Rugby to push them into 4th position.
Week 18 sees four more exciting match-ups with bottom two Houston SaberCats taking on Austin Elite on Saturday. Three games take place on Sunday with Toronto Arrows hosting Glendale Raptors, Utah Warriors are away to Seattle Seawolves. The game of the weekend sees RUNY host NOLA Gold in what should be an epic encounter.
Houston SaberCats Vs Austin Elite Rugby
This Texas derby has the added spice of being a bottom of the table clash. While Austin have been eluded by that all evasive win all season, one feels as though this could be their best opportunity as the Elite play the Seattle Seawolves the following week who will surely be pushing hard for that playoff spot.
This will have been a thoroughly disappointing season for Austin Elite Rugby. It could have been a different story for them if they had beaten NOLA Gold back in March. Who knows what impact that would have had on the Elite’s confidence, who knows if that could have given them the springboard to push on and compete to a higher standard but it wasn’t to be.
There is still a lot to play for these Austin players. The Elite will surely not want to be in this position next year and players could be playing for contracts at this stage of the season.
The SaberCats pulled off the upset of the weekend last weekend when they beat NOLA Gold 27-20, in what was only their third victory all season. The SaberCats like Austin will be hoping to finish the season on a high with a victory over their Texas rivals. The SaberCats play the Utah Warriors in the final weekend of the 2019 MLR season so there is the opportunity to climb up to 7th and go into the 2020 season with a bit more confidence.
Prediction: Houston SaberCats
RUNY Vs NOLA Gold
RUNY eased past Austin Elite last week to give them 3 wins from their last 5 games but more importantly the win pushed them into 4th place in standings and in the hot-seat for the championship playoff position. RUNY are currently one point ahead of the Toronto Arrows who are in fifth position. RUNY also play the Arrows the following week, so if both teams get a win this weekend, that showdown could be immense.
NOLA Gold’s slip up last weekend against the Houston SaberCats has been systematic of a worrying trend in form. The Gold are currently 2 wins from 5 having lost their last 2 games. The Gold are currently in second position but the with Seawolves only a point behind them and RUNY 3 points behind them, it is all to play for.
NOLA Gold are at home to San Diego Legion in the final game of the regular season next weekend so they will be hoping to get a result out of at least one of those games.
The last time these sides met was back in February where RUNY ran out victors 27-24 over the Gold, momentum however could play a role in this game and one suspects a repeat of a tight encounter with RUNY to edge it.
Toronto Arrows Vs Glendale Raptors
The Toronto Arrows are currently the most in form team in the MLR with 5 wins from 5. The Arrows had a strategically beneficial week off last week and with games against the Raptors this weekend and RUNY next weekend, it could be set up for the Arrows to just about make the playoffs.
The Arrows have had some impressive victories in the past few weeks with wins against San Diego Legion and a convincing win against Seattle Seawolves as they have shown they can take down the big teams as well as the teams further down the table.
The Raptors are in decent form with 3 wins from their last five and wins over RUNY and Utah Warriors recently but last weeks 36-53 loss to Seattle Seawolves will have taken the wind out of the Raptors sails.
The manner of the loss will have been particularly disappointing the Raptors as the Seawolves ran in a couple of relatively easy tries.
The big question for the Raptors is can they bounce back from this type of defeat. The Raptors do have an outside chance of making the playoffs as they have a re-scheduled game against the SaberCats on Wednesday May 29th, they would need to pick up two bonus point wins and hope for other surrounding teams to slip up.
Prediction: Toronto Arrows.
Seattle Seawolves Vs Utah Warriors
Seattle enter week 18 in third place in the standings and only a point behind second place NOLA Gold. The Seawolves have had an impressive run of form, winning 4 of their last 5 games and racking up some notable victories against RUNY, Glendale and NOLA along the way.
With the Seawolves taking on the Utah Warriors this weekend and Austin Elite Rugby next weekend, their vision of the path to the playoffs could be clearer than the other teams vying for a playoff position.
The Warriors on the other hand have not had a good run of form. The Warriors have lost 4 of their last 5 games, with a sole victory coming against the Austin Elite in April. The Warriors are currently in 7th place but are 26 points behind 6th place Glendale Raptors. Aside from a battle of pride between the Warriors and Sabercats as to who gets 7th place, the Warriors do not have a whole lot to play for.
Prediction: Seattle Seawolves.