Get to Know the All-MLR First Team
Earlier today MLR announced the All-MLR team selections for the 2021 season. Get to know more about the 15 players selected to the All-MLR First Team.
LOOSEHEAD PROP, CHANCE WENGLEWSKI – RUGBY ATL
Chance Wenglewski played 13 games for Rugby ATL in 2021, contributing to the second-most effective scrum in the 2021 season. Whilst his work at the scrum was a major reason the 24-year-old made the All-MLR First Team, his work-rate is another; registering 145 tackles and picking up three turnovers at the breakdown.
HOOKER, SAMA MALOLO – UTAH WARRIORS
Aged just 23 Sama Malolo took MLR by storm in 2021, the Australian scoring 11 tries this season, joint most with Angus Cottrell. These tries were scored across the 10 games that he played, whilst also completing 52 tackles and causing two turnovers.
TIGHTHEAD PROP, DINO WALDREN – NOLA GOLD
NOLA Gold were able to boast the most effective scrum in the 2021 season, the team winning 96.2% of their scrums. Playing in 14 games, Waldren was the bedrock of that particular set-piece and proved his worth in attack with 213 attacking ruck arrivals and 91 tackles whilst in defence.
LEFT LOCK, NATE BRAKELEY – RUGBY UNITED NEW YORK
31-year-old Nate Brakeley pulled on a New York jersey on 15 occasions this season and went about his business in the uncompromising fashion expected of him. Making 148 tackles for New York, seven breakdown steals and 86 defensive ruck arrivals, the former Dartmouth University lock also arrived at 310 attacking rucks, keeping New York on the front foot regularly.
RIGHT LOCK, JOHAN MOMSEN – RUGBY ATL
Completing 193 tackles, Johan Momsen made the joint-most tackles of anyone in MLR. Playing 17 games, the South African also carried the ball 103 times, breaking 22 tackles and picking up six turnovers, the 25-year-old was a massive influence in both attack and defense for Scott Lawrence’s side.
BLINDSIDE FLANKER, ANGUS COTTRELL – LA GILTINIS
Joint-top try scorer alongside Sama Malolo, Angus Cottrell played 15 games for LA in their inaugural season. Not known for his dominance in attack, the 31-year-old carried the ball 111 times, making 646 metres. Add to this 110 successful tackles and five steals at the breakdown, it was certainly a year to remember for Cottrell.
OPENSIDE FLANKER, LUCAS RUMBALL – TORONTO ARROWS
Leading from the front is something that comes naturally to Lucas Rumball. Whether that be with Toronto or Canada, Rumball was a dominant performer for the Arrows, completing 156 tackles and carrying on 124 occasions. Arriving at more defensive rucks than anyone else in MLR, the 25-year-old also won more turnovers in the league than anyone else, by claiming 22.
8., WIAN CONRADIE – NEW ENGLAND FREE JACKS
On his way to the English Premierships Gloucester, Namibian international Wian Conradie completed 193 tackles for New England, whilst also carrying the ball 157 times and making 881 metres in the process. Also scoring four tries, Conradie displayed his well-rounded game in each of his 15 games this year.
SCRUM-HALF, HARRISON GODDARD – LA GILTINIS
Scoring nine tries for LA on the way to lifting the Shield, Goddard’s kicking ability was a major influence on the way the Giltinis played, the 23-year-old guiding his team into good field position on 91 occasions, accounting for 3022 kicking metres. Completing well over 900 passes too, Goddard was a leading light for the Giltinis on their way to glory.
FLY-HALF, MATT GITEAU – LA GILTINIS
Playing in 13 games for Darren Coleman’s LA in 2021, Giteau proved his weight in gold with his masterful game management. Whether that was directing his players with his adept passing game or directing play using his feet, the Australia legend even registered 13 points in the Championship Final, allowing the 38-year-old to add another trophy to his already impressive collection.
LEFT WING, DTH VAN DER MERWE – LA GILTINIS
Former Canada international DTH van der Merwe came to LA with a wealth of professional rugby experience with the Glasgow Warriors and Scarlets in the Pro14 competition. Scoring 11 tries, including one in the Championship Final, the 35-year-old carried the ball for 1123 metres, breaking 42 tackles and making 16 line breaks.
INSIDE CENTER, BILLY MEAKES – LA GILTINIS
Pulling on a Giltinis jersey 12 times in 2021, Meakes thrived in both attack and defence all season. Even playing at openside flanker against San Diego Legion in round 14 of the regular season, the 30-year-old caused eight turnovers, as well as carrying for 870 metres in attack and scored two tries.
OUTSIDE CENTER, BEN LESAGE – TORONTO ARROWS
Ben LeSage is a player that prides himself on his physicality in defense, but in 2021 the Canada international registered five tries, 14 offloads and 14 line breaks. Then in defence, the 25-year-old made 84 tackles in the 13 games he played.
RIGHT WING, JULIAN DOMINGUEZ – NOLA GOLD
Argentina wing Julian Dominguez registered nine tries for NOLA Gold as they aimed for the Eastern Conference Final. Not making it to the postseason, the 24-year-old ran for 1027 metres, made 17 offloads, 13 line breaks and broke 55 tackles.
FULL-BACK, MIKE TE’O – UTAH WARRIORS
It would be fair to say that Mike Te’o enjoyed a dominant year with the Utah Warriors. Making the most running metres in MLR, with 1566, the former San Diego Legion player also carried the ball 173, joint with Toronto’s Manuel Diana at the top of that particular statistic. Also making 19 offloads and 10 line breaks, it was certainly a year to remember for Te’o.
Written by Joe Harvey
(Nov. 27, 2023) – Major League Rugby (MLR), which represents the highest
Written by Joe Harvey | Photos by Davey Wilson When Jayson Potroz
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