Round 19 | First XV, Player of the Week
- Loosehead Prop, Rob Brouwer (Toronto Arrows) – Going up against the strong Paddy Ryan from Rugby United New York, Brouwer established the menacing left side for the Arrows attacking scrum. On attack, he took five hard carries for 13 meters. Brouwer proved his worth on defense by challenging the breakdown and completing 15 tackles for the Arrows.
- Hooker, Andrew Quattrin (Toronto Arrows) – Andrew Quattrin has been a key part of the Arrows scrummaging platform all season long and he proved that again by winning a scrum put in by Rugby United New York. On Sunday, Quattrin totaled 10 carries for 45 meters and had five tackles.
- Tighthead Prop, Paddy Ryan (San Diego Legion) – Paddy Ryan, the tighthead that cannot be defeated, came up against tough opposition on Sunday in New Orleans loosehead prop Matt Harmon. Ryan rumbled across the try-line for a score late in the first half by breaking the blockade that had been enforced the Gold defense. He finished with five carries for 33 meters and 11 tackles.
- Left Lock, Nikola Bursic (New Orleans Gold) – Nikola Bursic was the workhorse in the pack for the New Orleans Gold as he carried the ball hard into contact against the San Diego defense 13 times for 83 meters, and had a line-break, a tackle-break, and one offload. Bursic made the match interesting early in the second half as he took a pass from Kane Thompson in for a try. On defense, he completed eight tackles.
- Right Lock, Brad Tucker (Seattle Seawolves) – Brad Tucker smashed through the Austin defense for two tries on 14 carries that totaled 108 meters, a line-break, and one offload. However, he also made his presence felt on defense as he corralled the Austin ball carriers by completing 21 tackles.
- Blindside Flanker, Jasa Veremalua (San Diego Legion) – The connection between Jasa Veremalua and Joshua Furno seemed to be that of twins at birth. Where Furno carried, Jasa supported, where Jasa carried, Furno supported. This great dynamic led to a try that was finished by Veremalua off an intercept by Furno to end the first half. Veremalua carried four times for 65 meters on attack and proved to be a cornerstone of the Legion defense with 15 tackles.
- Openside Flanker, Matt Hughston (Rugby United New York) – Matt Hughston’s form has rounded out again for the second straight season of Major League Rugby. This time he brought his tremendous work rate to the field in the orange and blue of Rugby United New York. Hughston earned a try assist early in the match when he passed to Mike St. Claire which ultimately set the tone for the Roosters as they began their march into hostile territory. He finished with seven carries for 65 meters, a line-break, and 16 tackles.
- No 8., Luke Campbell (Toronto Arrows) – Luke Campbell tore up the New York defense with hard carries throughout the day off the breakdown. With 18 carries for 107 meters and a line-break, Campbell was a key point of the Arrows attack against the high work rate of Rugby United New York’s back row. He also completed seven tackles on defense.
- Scrum-half, Mike Petri (Rugby United New York) – The old field general for Rugby United New York made four carries for 15 meters on attack. Scrum-halves aren’t often called on to play hard defense. On Sunday, Petri laid the wood against the Arrows with 15 tackles. He also put three kicks in play for 84 meters to keep the Arrows attack at bay.
- Fly-half, Sam Malcolm (Toronto Arrows) – Sometimes you just have to call your shot, and that’s what Sam Malcolm did on Sunday afternoon. With penalty advantage being played, Malcolm called for the ball and slotted only the second completed drop goal in Major League Rugby for 2019. This put the Arrows ahead 22-20 and allowed them the opportunity to kill the clock following the restart. Malcolm finished the afternoon with seven points, two carries for 15 meters, six tackles, and four kicks in play for 125 meters.
- Left Wing, Jeff Hassler (Seattle Seawolves) – The King is back! Jeff Hassler carved up the Austin defense with six carries for 124 meters, a line-break, a tackle-break, and one offload. Hassler broke into the try zone for Seattle’s final score of the match, putting the contest out of reach for Austin. On defense, he completed six tackles.
- Inside Center, JP du Plessis (San Diego Legion) – JP du Plessis’ powerful running on his 10 carries produced 56 meters and a tackle-break and gave the Legion excellent attacking position throughout the afternoon against the Gold. He led the Legion on defense with 19 tackles, but none were more important than a goal-line encounter that stopped an almost assured New Orleans try and eventually lead to San Diego gaining possession.
- Outside Center, Tristan Blewett (New Orleans Gold) – Tristan Blewett, the man that carves up every defense like a turkey at Thanksgiving, burst through the San Diego defense with 14 carries for 151 meters, two line-breaks, three tackle-breaks, and one offload. On defense, he ran down multiple San Diego ball carriers and finished the match with eight tackles.
- Right Wing, Dan Moor (Toronto Arrows) – The electric captain, Dan Moor, used smart support running to score a try in the corner off a try-assist from Leandro Leivas early in the first half after Rugby United New York drew first blood. He totaled six carries for 60 meters, a line-break, and seven tackles.
- Fullback, Osea Kolinisau (Houston SaberCats) – With keen eyes, Osea Kolinisau provided great support running throughout the match against Utah. Following Malacchi Esdale, he took a pass in to score the go-ahead try to help lead the SaberCats to their fourth victory in as many matches. He totaled four carries for 47 meters, an offload, five tackles, and two kicks in play for 64 meters.
Player of the Week: Right Lock, Brad Tucker (Seattle Seawolves) – Brad Tucker proved to be one of the best acquisitions of the 2018 offseason. His durability, physicality, and versatility helped lead the Seawolves to their second appearance in the Major League Rugby Championship Series. His impact on the pitch is evident in his meters after contact. His physicality was evident on Sunday night as he smashed through the Austin defense for two tries. On defense, he laid crushing blows against every ball carrier. He did exactly that in front of a sold-out home crowd with 21 tackles.
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