Major League Rugby Announces First and Second All-MLR Teams, Award Winners for 2019
June 25, 2019 - Major League Rugby (MLR) News Release
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - Major League Rugby (MLR) officially announced its award winners and All-MLR team selections for the 2019 season on Tuesday.
Fresh off his team's successful title defense, Brad Tucker of the Seattle Seawolves has been named the 2019 Player of the Year. Tucker was a force at lock for the Seawolves all season long, making his presence felt on both sides of the ball. His consistent performance throughout the regular season carried into the playoffs and was instrumental to the Seawolves during their post-season run to defending the MLR Championship Shield.
MLR also announced the top 30 players throughout the season, making up the first and second All-MLR teams. The selections were voted on by members of the MLR media:
1ST XV 2ND XV
1 ROB BROUWER (TOR) FRANCO VAN DEN BERG (UTA)
2 DYLAN FAWSITT (RUNY) ERIC HOWARD (NOLA)
3 PADDY RYAN (SDL)* MORGAN MITCHELL (TOR)
4 MIKE SHEPPARD (TOR) BEN MITCHELL (AER)
5 NATE BRAKELEY (RUNY) LOU STANFILL (SDL)
6 BRAD TUCKER (SEA)* LANCE WILLIAMS (UTA)
7 NAKAI PENNY (SEA) MATT HUGHSTON (RUNY)
8 RIEKERT HATTINGH (SEA) CAM DOLAN (NOLA)
9 NATE AUGSPURGER (SDL) MIKE PETRI (RUNY)
10 JOE PIETERSEN (SDL) SAM MALCOM (TOR)
11 CONNOR WALLACE-SIMS (RUNY) DAN MOOR (TOR)
12 JP DU PLESSIS (SDL)* SHALOM SUNIULA (SEA)
13 TRISTAN BLEWETT (NOLA) RYAN MATYAS (SDL)
14 JOHN RYBERG (GLEN) BROCK STALLER (SEA)
15 JP ELOFF (NOLA) MAT TURNER (SEA)
"Congratulations to all the players being recognized for their exceptional achievements on the field this season," said Dean Howes, Commissioner of Major League Rugby. "The depth of talent in the league is truly impressive and each selected player had a truly remarkable season."
The First and Second All-MLR Teams represent the best players from each positional group who consistently demonstrated top play on the pitch throughout the regular season.
Number of selections by team:
Seattle - 6
San Diego - 6
New York - 5
Toronto - 5
NOLA - 4
Utah - 2
Glendale - 1
Austin - 1
Finally, the MLR also announced its major accolades for the 2019 season. The following recipients exemplified excellence in performance throughout the year and have been recognized by members of the MLR media:
PLAYER OF THE YEAR - BRAD TUCKER (Seattle Seawolves)
Seattle Seawolves lock Brad Tucker logged seven tries and 1072.9 metres on 188 ball carries in 2019. His impact didn't end there - defensively Tucker posted an incredible 96% tackle percentage.
FORWARD OF THE YEAR - PADDY RYAN (San Diego Legion)
Paddy Ryan was a key component of San Diego's success this season. The tight-head prop had 711 metres on 123 carries on his way to two tries this season. Defensively, Ryan was extremely effective with a 94% tackle percentage.
BACK OF THE YEAR - JP DU PLESSIS (San Diego Legion)
When it came to consistent production, San Diego had to look no further than JP Du Plessis. This season, Du Plessis recorded seven tries while netting 1118 metres on 159 carries, earning him Back of the Year honours.
COACH OF THE YEAR - ROB HOADLEY (San Diego Legion)
The San Diego Legion were the story of the 2019 season, and it all started with coach Rob Hoadley, recipient of Coach of the Year honors. Hoadley was able to coach his squad to a 12-3-1 record throughout the regular season, leading them on a run that saw them narrowly edged out in the final seconds of the championship game.
MLR is a professional rugby league launched in April of 2018. It's an initiative of the North American rugby community, in partnership with private investors, who believe that North American rugby can thrive at the highest levels: as a commercial enterprise; as an influential player on the international scene; and as a participation sport at the youth and senior level. MLR will be the pinnacle of North American rugby, and provide a rallying point for local communities, a focal point for North American rugby fans, and an aspirational destination for young athletes. There are already over 40 internationals and players from more than 15 countries playing in the MLR. Twenty-two MLR stars represented the USA Eagles and Canada national teams in the opening round of the 2019 Americas Rugby Championship, with more than 30 called up over the course of the tournament.
The teams that competed in MLR Season 2 are Austin Elite, Glendale Raptors, Houston SaberCats, New Orleans Gold, San Diego Legion, Seattle Seawolves, Utah Warriors plus new additions Rugby United New York and Toronto Arrows. In 2020, New England Free Jacks and Old Glory DC will bring the total to 11 teams for MLR Season 3.
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