Looking to the 2022 MLR Championship Series
Written by Joe Harvey | Photo by Darren Zemanek
With the regular season coming to an end in just two weeks, it seemed a good time to offer a refresher on what the postseason will look like.
As was the case last season, each Major League Rugby team will finish with16 games after the18-week regular season. With the addition of the Dallas Jackals this season, there have been 13 teams competing two divisions: the Eastern Conference and the Western Conference.
In contrast to previous seasons, it will be the top three sides from each Conference that make their way into the Championship Series. At each stage, the higher seeded team will earn the home field advantage and host the game.
First will be an Eliminator Round, in which the second and third place side in the East and West play one another in-division, the winner of those games progressing to play the number one seed in the Conference Finals.
Played a week later, winners of the Conference Finals will progress to the MLR Championship Final which will be played on the weekend of June 25th/26th at the home of the higher seeded team. Every step of the playoffs will be broadcasted live on Fox Sports 1 and 2.
ELIMINATOR ROUND (2 vs 3)
Sunday, June 12 | Eastern Matchup, 6:00PM ET on FS2
In the Eastern Conference, it is Scott Mathie’s New England Free Jacks that have clinched a place in the playoffs. With NOLA Gold and Rugby New York coming to Veterans Memorial Stadium in the next two weeks, they will back themselves to cement top seed as well.
However, Rugby New York, Rugby ATL, and the Toronto Arrows are in hot pursuit.
Rugby ATL’s impressive victory in Hoboken over the weekend means they are tied on points with Rugby New York and leapfrog them into second place after tiebreakers. With two home games against the Arrows and the Gold remaining, they have put themselves in a great position to clinch a playoff spot.
Meanwhile, Marty Veale’s Rugby New York have two away games to finish their season. A road trip south to the much-improved Old Glory DC is followed by a tough trip north to Boston to face the Free Jacks – an unenviable task at “Fort Quincy”.
Lastly, the Arrows will travel to Atlanta – a city they are very familiar with after spending the season there in 2021 – before hosting Old Glory DC, who will be looking spoil parties, to end the year.
Sunday, June 12 | Western Matchup, 8:30PM ET on FS2
The Western Conference saw a new leader after the weekend’s results. The LA Giltinis rout of Dallas saw them jump to first place and guarantee themselves a playoff spot alongside the Austin Gilgronis.
The Sabercats are on the brink of clinching their first ever appearance in an MLR Championship Series. Though the San Diego Legion and the Seattle Seawolves are still in with a chance mathematically, they are both dependent on Houston slip ups if they are to climb into 3rd place.
The battle for top seed, however, is wide open. Houston make the notoriously tough trip up to Starfire Stadium, where the hungry Seawolves will want to give themselves an outside chance while the Gilgronis host the Legion, who will also be looking to stay in the hunt. Mark your calendars for the Texas derby on the last weekend when the AGs travel to Aveva Stadium to decide final standings.
Meanwhile, Stephen Hoiles and the Giltinis will travel to Zions Bank Stadium to face a Utah Warriors side who will be buoyant after upsetting the league leading Gilgronis over the weekend. They end their regular season with a final game against the Seattle Seawolves at home.
Saturday, June 18 | Conference Finals, 7:00PM EST on FS2
Sunday, June 19 | Conference Finals, 3:00PM EST on FS1
The week following the Eliminator Round, the winners of those game will play the team that led their conference at the conclusion of the regular season.
Whoever finished as top seed will host the game off the back of an extra bye week. First up will be the Western Conference Final on Saturday, June 18, before the Eastern Conference Final a day later.
Saturday, June 25 or Sunday, June 26
Like 12 months ago, the Championship Final’s venue is dependent on which teams reach the winner-takes-all fixture.
Calculated by the team’s regular season record, the side most competitive over the course of 2022 will play host to the Shield.
League standings are determined by table points, which are measured by the standard rugby union point system:
4 points for winning a match
2 points for drawing a match
0 points for losing a match
1 losing bonus point for losing by 7 points or fewer
1 try bonus point for scoring 4 tries or more
In the event of two or more teams being equal on competition points for any position either during or at the end of the season, such position will be decided upon using the following steps until the tie is broken:
(a) Most wins from all matches;
(b) Highest aggregate points difference from all matches;
(c) Most tries from all matches;
(d) The highest aggregate difference of total tries for versus tries scored against from all matches;
(e) Superior head to head record;
(f) Coin toss.
(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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