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Round Three Preview

April 3, 2021 - Major League Rugby (MLR) News Release


Major League Rugby had its usual slate of thrilling action over the weekend. Two teams dazzled with 50+ point outbursts and two others made dramatic second-half comebacks to earn victory at the end.

Read along for previews of this week's matchups.

UTAH WARRIORS @ NEW ENGLAND FREE JACKS

Saturday 4:30 p.m. ET | CBS Sports Network

Overseas fans can watch on The Rugby Network

Utah has turned heads with an impressive 2-0 start, including a convincing 39-24 victory over Toronto on Saturday. Utah has been much improved in 2021 than in previous seasons and currently sit in second place, behind LA on the point differential tiebreaker. New England is 1-1, in spite of playing nearly half of its matches with 14 or 15 men. Last week's 32-0 win at Houston was the drubbing of the week.

What's at stake: Utah can continue to impress and keep pace with the Gilgronis for first place in the West, and first in the MLR overall. New England is right in the thick of things in the middle of the Eastern Conference. It's early, but the Free Jacks won't want to be playing catch-up after just three weeks in.

Bold Prediction: A week at home after starting out back-to-back on the road and some improved discipline is enough to see the Free Jacks ride to a narrow victory, 31-29.

Toronto Arrows @ Old Glory DC

Saturday at 5:00 p.m. ET | Stream on The Rugby Network

With some injury-induced shakeups in the backline, Old Glory found the winning combination when Mike Dabulas played the hero off the bench at 10. Danny Tusitala moved to his natural 9 position and DC was back to its running ways. Expect that pairing to start things out on Saturday while Jason Robertson continues to rehab his injury.

Toronto has not resembled the Eastern Conference leaders of a year ago. The COVID-inspired move to Atlanta, coupled with the loss of two of its most important players from 2020 might just be too much to handle for this season. Toronto currently stands alone at the bottom of the standings with just one league point.

What's at stake: Toronto needs a win in the worst way. The team is seven points behind conference-leading NOLA and four points behind fifth-place Rugby ATL just two weeks in. Starting 0-3 could bury last year's East leaders. Old Glory needs to continue to rack up league points, as it's two behind NOLA, tied with New York, and just one ahead of New England and ATL.

Bold Prediction: Expect more cohesion from Old Glory at the start and the home team to roll, 35-20.

San Diego Legion @ Rugby ATL

Saturday at 7:00 p.m. ET | Watch on FS2

Overseas fans can watch on The Rugby Network

The San Diego Legion were dealt a surprising loss in Week One and looked lifeless for 60 minutes last week vs. Austin. The visitors will have to hope the late game magic carries into Week Three with a better start against a hungry ATL side. The hosts were the victims of last week's other second half comeback. Atlanta has already played 40+ minutes of shutout ball this season, and is unlikely to let another two-possession, second half lead slip away.

What's at stake: Last year's league leaders are already four points behind two of its respective Western Conference foes. It can ill afford another loss at this juncture. ATL needs to shake off the disappointment from a week ago and get its point differential back in the positive direction.

Bold Prediction: A second week with Joe Pietersen back steering the ship sees San Diego more resemble its 2019-20 form. 28-20 San Diego.

TEXAS CUP: Houston SaberCats @ Austin Gilgronis

Presented by Karbach Brewing Co.

Saturday at 8:00 p.m. ET | Stream on The Rugby Network

As we enter the third week of the season, I'm still unsure of what Houston is. The Sabercats   impressed with its Week One win over Seattle. Then looked thoroughly uninterested versus New England. Even nearly ten minutes playing 15 on 13 was not enough to rack up a single point. Austin is winless thus far, but has absolutely looked like the more consistent team. It's two losses were by a combined five points. The team is a penalty kick and seven minutes from being 2-0.

What's at stake: Both of these teams desperately need a win to avoid staying where they've been entirely too often throughout three years of Major League Rugby: near the bottom of the standings.

Bold Prediction: In "The Battle of Texas," I'll take Austin notching its first win, 24-17.

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Major League Rugby Stories from April 3, 2021


The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.


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