Geico XV | Week One
The first XV players for round one of Major League Rugby, written by Aaron Castro.
Loosehead Prop, Matt Harmon – NOLA Gold
With Harmon at loosehead, the Gold were able to establish a physical attacking platform that proved difficult to contend with by Old Glory. With limited ball he still made 16 meters from two carries and threw himself into the breakdown with 11 ruck arrivals.
Hooker, Dylan Fawsitt – Rugby United New York
The leader of one of the most prolific set-piece attacks in Major League Rugby, Fawsitt scored three tries off 10 carries for 36 meters and a tackle break. He proved physical around the breakdown with nine ruck arrivals and 8 tackles.
Tighthead Prop, Charlie Abel – Los Angeles Giltinis
The veteran from the Waratahs, Abel proved too much for the Free Jacks scrum as provided a dominant platform that forced Sef Fa’agase to commit three penalties. On attack he made three carries for 9 meters. He had 22 ruck arrivals at the breakdown.
Left Lock, Marno Redelinghuys – Rugby ATL
Alongside Momsen, Redelinghuys has proved a physical specimen that is hard to contend with in defense. He had a complete match with three carries for 17 meters and a tackle break; and ended with 15 tackles in defense, 16 ruck arrivals, and four lineout takes.
Right Lock, Rhyno Herbst – Seattle Seawolves
Herbst proved physical as he carried the ball 12 times for 56 meters and an offload. Around the breakdown he proved invaluable for the Seawolves with 32 ruck arrivals. In the aerial game he had three lineout takes and completed 11 tackles in defense.
Blindside Flanker, Tomas de la Vega – Toronto Arrows
De La Vega made the hard carries around the ruck gaining 15 meters from 9 carries, but quick thinking he found a few inches of open space ground the ball for a try in the 11th minute. In the aerial game he led the Arrows with 5 line out takes, completed 12 tackles in defense, and had 24 ruck arrivals.
Openside Flanker, Lucas Rumball – Toronto Arrows
Rumball put on a show of his tremendously high workrate against Atlanta with his 12 carries for 36 meters and three tackle breaks. In defense he completed 12 tackles. At the breakdown he had a league leading 39 ruck arrivals and four breakdown steals.
No 8., Diego Magno – Houston SaberCats
Magno exemplified physicality with every interaction he had with and without the ball. In the breakdown he bullied the opposing Seattle players that yielded multiple turnovers including one of his own on his 23 ruck arrivals. He made 58 meters, a line break, and two tackle breaks from 12 carries. In defense completed 12 tackles.
Scrum-half, Danny Tusitala – Old Glory DC
Tusitala was everywhere for Old Glory running in support of Renata Roberts-Tenana when his team needed a try he scored a seven pointer and then he scored a second try to open the second half. Defensively he completed 5 tackles, had 6 defensive ruck arrivals, and a break down steal. He used his boot to put pressure on NOLA Gold with 5 kicks for 98 meters.
Fly-half, Jason Robertson – Old Glory DC
Robertson showed he was in mid-season form or possibly that 2020 never ended for him. With his crisp passes he hit carriers on target and also carried seven times for 69 meters, two tacklebreaks, and an offload. He used his boot to score 14 points from the tee, and put pressure on the Gold defense with seven kicks for 213 meters.
Left Wing, Sitiveni Tamaivena – Seattle Seawolves
Tamaivena made the roster from the Seattle practice squad in 2020, he immediately showed on Saturday why he made it in 2020. Every time the Seattle back three were put under pressure he collected the ball to make massive gains and win their exits making 130 meters on 10 carries, 6 tackle breaks, and one offload.
Inside Center, Will Leonard – Rugby United New York
Leonard has been consistent all three seasons he has played in MLR, he’s always in the right place on attack and defense with a presence for tackling and carrying. He diced up San Diego to yield two tries on 11 carries for 104 meters, two line breaks, six tackle breaks, and three offloads. He completed nine tackles and had 11 ruck arrivals.
Outside Center, Ross Neal – Seattle Seawolves
Neal is a massive player for the Seawolves both as a personality and on the pitch, he demonstrated with this with his powerful running that yielded a try, 10 carries for 102 meters, two line breaks, four tackle breaks, an offload, and 11 ruck arrivals.
Right Wing, DTH van der Merwe – Los Angeles Giltinis
Van der Merwe put on a show in the first half with excellent vision he cut into New England immediately with two tries in the first half. With precision he finished with 7 carries for 96 meters, two line breaks, six tackle breaks, and an offload.
Fullback, Matias Freyre – Houston SaberCats
Consistently proved a problem with his dynamic vision and pace first setting up multiple big gains in tandem with Zach Pangelinan and then scoring his own try; he finished with 11 carries for 107 meters, a line break, and four tackle breaks, and two offloads . Freyre also kept the Seawolves honest by winning exits and putting the ball in play with his kicking gaining 332 meters from 8 kicks.
Player of the Week – Danny Tusitala, Old Glory DC
Tusitala was the engine that kept Old Glory running in their match with NOLA. He was fast with ruck arrivals and fast with his service out of the ruck passing crisp missiles to waiting teammates. He scored two electric tries running perfectly in support waiting for the perfectly timed offload. He totaled: 2 tries, 3 carries, 85 meters, 5 tackles, a breakdown steal, 6 ruck arrivals, 5 kicks for 98 meters.
Read all about the first weekend of matches and view match highlights in the Week One Recap.
Written by Joe Harvey | Photo by David Becker When Dylan Audsley
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