MLR Week 8 | First XV, Player of the Week
MLR Week 8 | First XV, Player of the Week
By Aaron Castro, League Correspondent
- Loosehead Prop, Chris Schade (Austin Elite) – Chris established a solid platform in the scrum for Austin as he faced off against Tim Metcher of the Seawolves. His physical work-rate proved crucial around the breakdown when Austin had to fortify the ruck against the Seawolves’ intense counter-ruck efforts.
- Hooker, Dylan Fawsitt (Glendale Raptors) – The Butcher’s presence around the breakdown was felt by the SaberCats throughout the match, especially in the first half when he grabbed the ball and forced his way across the try line to give the Raptors their fourth try of the match.
- Tighthead Prop, Nathan Sylvia (San Diego Legion) – Nathan’s performance on the right side of the scrum gave the Legion a stable platform on restarts put in by scrum-half Nick Boyer. He took the ball over the try-line with the Legion’s unstoppable driving maul.
- Left Lock, Ben Mitchell (Austin Elite) – Ben’s work in the air stifled the Seawolves as he helped steal nearly half of their lineouts. Ben helped put Austin up early in the game by getting the ball down quick to scrum-half Marcus Walsh to run the attack.
- Right Lock, John Sullivan (NOLA Gold) – John’s work-rate around the ruck and lineout success was felt significantly, keeping NOLA Gold within striking distance of the Legion.
- Blindside Flanker, Zach Fenoglio (Glendale Raptors) – Shifting back to the blindside, Zach captained the Raptors to a victory that put them back atop the League standings. His tackle completion rate continued to demonstrate some of the best rugby of his career as he proved a disruptive force to the SaberCats in the middle of the pitch.
- Openside Flanker, Nakai Penny (Seattle Seawolves) – Nakai earned the start to replace Vili Toluta’u, playing just as forceful as his teammate. He broke numerous tackles throughout the match when he ran with the ball in hand, giving the Seawolves positive field position to attack with.
- No 8., Kyle Sumsion (Houston SaberCats) – What’s synonymous with Sumsion is work-rate. He punishes when he carries the ball and hits the breakdown quick to establish both the ruck and counter-ruck on each side of the ball when needed. His tackle completions kept the SaberCats within reach of victory throughout the match against the League-leading Raptors.
- Scrum-half, Nick Boyer (San Diego Legion) – Nick’s ball placement, ruck management, and quick carries kept the Legion on the front foot against the Gold early. In the second half, the big scrum-half kept the Legion moving at a rapid tempo that didn’t allow the Gold back in the match for long.
- Fly-half, Maximo De Achaval (Glendale Raptors) – Moving in from his everyday position of fullback, Maximo brought Argentine flair to the position with a try, drop goal and a crossfield kick to assist Harley Davidson in completing his hat-trick.
- Blindside Wing, Ryan Matyas (San Diego Legion)- Returning from Eagles Camp, Ryan set the standard for the Legion early on by scoring the Legion’s second try of the match. His defense proved necessary as he continued to make tackle after tackle when the Gold started to mount their attack early in the second half.
- Inside Center, Shalom Suniula (Seattle Seawolves) – The captain guided the Seawolves in a hard fought victory over Austin with great ball distribution in the midfield. His efforts on defense in the second half as Austin attempted to regain the lead effectively stopped the home side cold, only conceding a penalty kick from Guillimin.
- Outside Center, William Rasileka (Seattle Seawolves) – William took offloads from inside-center Shalom Suniula, breaking the gainline multiple times against Austin. He scored Seattle’s first try at the twenty-second-minute mark, shifting the momentum which brought the Seawolves back into the math.
- Openside Wing, Alex Elkins (Houston SaberCats) – Alex Elkins contribution off the bench for the SaberCats was seen early as he broke numerous tackles. The big winger scored two tries in the second half as he attempted to put the SaberCats on his back.
- Fullback, Cam Troxler (NOLA Gold) – Cam Troxler’s play from the fullback position with his kicking and running kept San Diego honest for the majority of the match. His early try in the first half brought the Gold back within striking distance of the Legion — this provided a much-needed surge for the Gold.
Player of Week: Openside Wing, Harley Davidson (Glendale Raptors) – With great vision and support running, Harley scored a hat trick for the Raptors. Early in the first half he sighted the crossfield kick from fly-half Maximo De Achaval, chased it and set it down for a try. On defense he continued to be the enforcer that he’s been all season, this time tackling and containing SaberCats ball-carriers throughout the match.
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