MLR Week 2 | First XV, Player of the Week
MLR Week 2 | First XV, Player of the Week
By Aaron Castro, MLR League Correspondent
- Loosehead Prop, Sione Tu’ihalamaka (San Diego Legion) – Bouncing back after struggling in week one, Sione anchored the left side of San Diego’s scrum, providing a great attacking platform on scrum restarts. Strong with the ball in hand, he scored San Diego’s first try of the match.
- Hooker, Ray Barkwill (Seattle Seawolves) – The Canadian veteran made another statement on the pitch in week two, showing his abilities in the scrum and lineout. He dictated the tempo in scrums for Seattle, as they would gain ground on offensive and defensive restarts.
- Tighthead Prop, Tim Metcher (Seattle Seawolves) – Following an outstanding performance in week one, the tighthead provided the anchor for Seattle. The scrum dominance was clear from the ground gained on almost every restart. His abilities in establishing rucks provided a great attacking platform for scrum-half Phil Mack.
- Left Lock, Ben Mitchell (Austin Elite) – Ben’s performance in the open field, chasing down high kicks from fly-half Timothee Guillimin, showed his arrays of skills. His accuracy as a jumper in the lineout was relied upon often throughout the match, which put Austin in several favorable positions.
- Right Lock, Taylor Krumrei (Seattle Seawolves) – Taylor’s importance in the lineout for Seattle cannot be overstated as the Seawolves dominated both their and Glendale’s throw-ins. His strength in the scrum gave Barkwill and Olive Kilifi the adequate drive to gain ground on restarts.
- Blindside Flanker, Kyle Sumsion (Houston SaberCats) – Kyle always leads the SaberCats with his defensive work-rate. He was near the ball early and often — making tackles against Austin and at rucks challenging the Elite’s attacking platform.
- Openside Flanker, Vili Toluta’u (Seattle Seawolves) – Vili gained his first start in week two; he was a menace on the pitch as a defender. He showed powerful running, scoring a try following a quick tap from scrum-half Phil Mack.
- No 8., Hanco Germishuys (Austin Elite) – Moving to No 8. In week two, Hanco continues to show his pace as he chased down a high-ball kick from fly-half Timothee Guillimin, touching it down for a try.
- Scrum-half, Nate Augspurger (San Diego Legion) – The captain came back from injury showing that he remains a dynamic athlete at the point of attack. Numerous quick carries off rucks to break past the gainline dictated the tempo of the match against Utah. This came to fruition with a try of his own.
- Fly-half, Sam Windsor (Houston SaberCats) – The Australian is dynamic with his boot. He can put the ball almost anywhere on the pitch and his wingers will score. However, Saturday was a banner day for him as well, scoring 20 points from tries — including six conversions and a penalty kick.
- Blindside Wing, Ryan Matyas (San Diego Legion) – Back from injury, Ryan’s defense was apparent as he challenged Utah wingers on the pitch. On offense, he broke through defensive gaps multiple times to gain ground, along with securing a cross-pitch kick in-stride for a try.
- Inside Center, Paul Lasike (Utah Warriors) – Paul was a wrecking ball on Sunday against the Legion. Physically punishing San Diego’s defenders when he had ball in hand, the Legion often needed four tacklers to bring him down.
- Outside Center, William Rasileka (Seattle Seawolves) – Going after high balls and chasing down the likes of winger Harley Davidson and center Chad London, William’s rangy defense kept Seattle in the match against the Raptors’ well-drilled attack.
- Openside Wing, Harley Davidson (Glendale Raptors) – Harley’s growth from match to match has been tremendous. He continues to be one of the most potent offensive threats in the league with his pace and footwork, leading to Glendale’s second try against Seattle.
- Fullback, Maximo De Achaval (Glendale Raptors) – Maximo’s deep kicks pinned Seattle back in their own territory and his chip kicks at full pace put Glendale in solid field position to run their attack throughout the match. His kicking ability was a significant factor in Glendale’s victory.
Player of Week: Blindside Flanker, Zach Fenoglio (Glendale Raptors) – Two suspensions and a player sickness left Glendale down three players. Zach, the veteran hooker for Glendale, shifted to Blindside Flanker. His leadership and drive on the pitch was a significant factor in the Raptors victory. Carrying the ball at full pace with multiple Seattle defenders in vicinity, he kicked the ball towards the try-zone, chasing it down for the try.
Aaron can be reached at email@example.com
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