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LA Giltinis Secure MLR Shield with 31-17 Win over Rugby ATL to Conclude Their Inaugural Season

August 1, 2021 - Major League Rugby (MLR) - LA Giltinis News Release

In front of 7,000 fans at the LA Memorial Coliseum, the LA Giltinis won the Major League Rugby Shield in their inaugural season with a 31-17 win over Rugby ATL.

Following a tight start on Sunday afternoon, both of Rugby ATL and the LA Giltinis registered a penalty each, but it was after the water break that the home team took control of the game.

Quickfire tries for hulking wing John Ryberg allowed for his team to take a 12-point lead. The first score came after the 29-year-old drifted off his wing, connecting with Matt Giteau in the midfield to score his first, the second the result of running a good supporting line for Adam Ashley-Cooper.

At the break there would be just five points in the game, ATL rallying to plant themselves on their hosts' 5m line. Using their lineout, Atlanta hooker Marko Janse van Rensburg latched onto the ball after having thrown it in from the touchline and was driven over from the driving maul.

After the break, LA marched down the field with dominant carry after dominant carry, eventually winning a penalty that Matt Giteau struck over with 36 minutes still to play.

LA's third try came through DTH van der Merwe, space created out wide as ATL brought in bodies to defend a Giltinis maul, the subsequent strong carries from the hosts disorganizing their visitors before the ball found the 35-year-old who dotted down in the corner, Giteau adding another two points with the conversion.

It was after the hour mark that the players efforts could be clearly seen, each group of players getting running repairs, the allure of the Shield well worth the pain.

With the clock ticking over the 70-minute mark, Giteau struck yet another penalty to keep his team in the ascendency after more good work at the ruck. Leaving the field not long after, the legendary Australia international embraced his former international teammate Ashley-Cooper, the last act the two will have on the rugby field together.

Luke Burton assumed kicking responsibilities soon after Giteau has left the field, settling his nerves with a penalty. A Rowan Gouws break contributed gave good field position to ATL, who eventually scored through substitute back-row Ross Deacon.

USA international Luke Carty struck the ball into the stands with the clock in the red, ending the game and confirming that the LA Giltinis were first-time MLR champions.

Written by Joe Harvey

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