Round 13 | First XV, Player of the Week
- Loosehead Prop, Anthony Parry (Rugby United New York) – Earning his first start of the season, Parry created a sturdy attacking platform against Utah, giving Angus MacLellan a tough assignment for the duration of the evening. With the ball in hand, Parry carried for 37 meters in traffic with one offload. On defense, he attacked the breakdown and would-be ball carriers for 17 tackles.
- Hooker, Eric Howard (New Orleans Gold) – The captain was a beast with the ball, earning 72 meters from 16 carries. Leading by example, Howard took the ball from the backside of a maul to open New Orleans’ scoring with a try in the second quarter of play. On defense, he got after it all night by completing 15 tackles.
- Tighthead Prop, Marco Fepulea’i (Glendale Raptors) – Fepulea’i matched up well against both Faka’osi Pifeleti and his replacement, Nate Sylvia, establishing Glendale’s scrummaging platform that had struggled in recent weeks. Fepulea’i rumbled in for a try under the posts to cap the first half to fortify the attacking platform. Glendale’s number three carried eight times for 37 meters, had one line-break, and two tackle-breaks. On defense, he helped contain a potent San Diego attack with 13 tackles.
- Left Lock, Mike Sheppard (Toronto Arrows) – Sheppard is the work-horse that just won’t quit. Following great team-effort from the Arrows, Shep bullied his way into the in-goal area for a try to put Toronto ahead early in the second half. He had eight tough carries in contact for 31 meters. On defense, he completed 11 tackles against the Houston offense.
- Right Lock, Jasa Veremalua (San Diego Legion) – What a game from the winger, turned flanker, turned lock! Taking advantage of a poor lineout throw from Zach Fenoglio, Jasa exploded through the Glendale line, avoiding and breaking contact for San Diego’s first try of the match. His astounding work rate on attack generated 100 meters, two critical line-breaks, two tackle-breaks, and two offloads. On defense, he was stout around the breakdown and attacked in the open with 13 tackles.
- Blindside Flanker, Brad Tucker (Seattle Seawolves) – Whether Tucker is in the engine room or the blindside, he gives you everything he has. The flanker carried nine times for 60 meters and recorded one offload. On defense, he was a stalwart, shutting down the powerful attack from the Gold with 16 tackles. In aerial attack, he proved sure-handed with four successful lineout-takes.
- Openside Flanker, Nakai Penny (Seattle Seawolves) – Sometimes your opportunities to carry aren’t that numerous — Nakai carried only once for six meters. The Seawolves didn’t need his attacking prowess on the evening, they needed his proven defensive skills, which Penny exemplified with a jaw-dropping 24 tackles.
- No 8., Riekert Hattingh (Seattle Seawolves) – Directing and driving the Seattle scrum early in the second half, Riekert grabbed the ball and dotted it down as they pushed the Gold beyond the try line. Hattingh exploded on offense with 14 carries for 99 meters and one offload. On defense, he completed 12 tackles to complement the high work-rates of Tucker and Penny.
- Scrum-half, Nate Augspurger (San Diego Legion) – Nate continues to lead the team with his service off the scrum and his athletic carries off rucks. Against Glendale, he had four carries for 21 meters, one line-break, one tackle-break, and two offloads. On defense, he made 11 tackles and provided some heroics by using the world-class speed he showcased at the HSBC 7s Series, to catch and down Dylan Taikato-Simpson.
- Fly-half, Joe Pietersen (San Diego Legion) – Joe, the field general, carefully cut through would be defenders on five carries for 21 meters. Pietersen distributed the ball throughout the match to take advantage of every gap the Raptors conceded. He used his pinpoint accuracy to kick 10 times to gain 215 meters. On defense, he completed eight hard-tackles. Pietersen ended the day with 16 points from five conversions and two penalty goals.
- Left Wing, Connor Wallace-Sims (Rugby United New York) – Dynamism is something CWS brings to the table when he has the ball in hand. He scored two tries, opening the scoring in both the first and second halves. On attack, he made eight carries for 104 meters, had one line-break, made 73 meters from two kicks, and had one offload.
- Inside Center, Guiseppe Du Toit (Toronto Arrows) – Du Toit helped save the day and kicked two important conversions after Sam Malcolm left the pitch late in the first half. The center also made six carries for 39 meters on attack. On defense, he contributed greatly by making eight hard tackles and helped contain Thretton Palamo.
- Outside Center, Gannon Moore (Utah Warriors) – Since joining the Warriors, Gannon has showcased his world-class speed to yank ball carriers down from behind or to burst through a line and score a try. Tailing Don Pati with an excellent support-line, he received the ball and dotted it down for a try to begin Utah’s scoring in the first half. On attack, his hands were in everything Utah did with eight carries for 53 meters. The center also had one line-break and three offloads. On defense, he competed against the New York ball carriers successfully bringing them down with 10 completed tackles.
- Right Wing, Nick Boyer (San Diego Legion) – After an injury to JP du Plessis, Boyer found himself on the wing. Boyer had an outstanding performance with four carries for 150 meters, a try, a line-break, and one offload. On defense, he helped contain Harley Davidson, keeping him under 60 meters gained. Nick finished the match with 12 tackles on defense.
- Fullback, Mikey Te’o (San Diego Legion) – Mikey Te’o the machine. Let him have the ball and he’ll slice through the defense, and he’s unafraid to meet contact in the process. He scored two tries from long range and had a hand in multiple scores with 12 carries for 154 meters, two line-breaks, and five offloads. On defense, he leveled the Raptors with nine punishing tackles.
Player of the Week: Right Lock, Jasa Veremalua (San Diego Legion) – Jasa’s intense work rate defined his play and the Legion tempo throughout the match. Sublime with the ball-in-hand, he grabbed a loose ball off a lineout for the opening try and helped set the tempo that San Diego would go on to establish for the remainder of the match. Veremalua carried hard six times for 100 meters gained, had two tackle-breaks, two offloads, had 13 tackles, and one lineout-take.
It takes a different kind of person to willingly want to run
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