Seattle Seawolves Use Dominant Scrum to Beat San Diego Legion

Seattle Seawolves vs. San Diego Legion – MLR Opener

The Seattle Seawolves opened the Major League Rugby season against the San Diego Legion on Sunday, April 22 in front of a sold-out Starfire Stadium in Tukwila, Washington.

The match was broadcast on ESPN+ and locally on ROOT SPORTS in the Northwest and on Cox’s YurView network, available on Channel 4 to Cox and Spectrum cable customers in San Diego.

Seattle Seawolves vs. San Diego Legion Recap

San Diego Legion created pressure on the Seattle Seawolves early with their line speed. A Seawolves penalty for not releasing resulted in a Ben Cima penalty kick to take a 5-0 lead. A penalty by San Diego led to a Brock Staller kick to tie the match at 3 all.

Penalties were an issue early and Cima had another opportunity to kick for points, but the kick sailed wide.

Brock Staller took an offload slanting in and moving between the centers for a try, which he then converted to a Seawolves 10-3 lead. Staller had a kick for the posts a short time later, but the kick was missed resulting in a 22 drop.

Cima then slotted a penalty kick for the Legion. Staller had another opportunity, he slotted the kick increasing the lead to 13-6.

Seattle’s Mat Turner on a kick and chase couldn’t control the downward pressure on the ball in-goal and the Legion had a 5-meter scrum. A Seattle drive resulted in a 5- meter scrum to the Seawolves. The Legion countered on the drive by wheeling and were penalized. When it occurred again, a penalty try was awarded giving the Seawolves a 20-6 lead.

Seattle continued to dominate the scrums and Sione Tu’ihalamaka was sent to the bin for repeat scrum infractions.

Second Half

San Diego continued to take advantage of Seawolves infractions as Ben Cima slotted a penalty to cut the lead to 20-9. At some point, tries will be needed.

A no wrap tackle by Mitchell led to a Seawolves attack from a lineout. With penalty advantage in effect, Phil Mack attempt at a drop goal was wide, but Seattle retained the ball at the spot of the infraction. Rather than kick for points, the Seawolves went for a lineout and mauled before the Legion was pinged for a penalty. After ensuing scrums, a penalty try was awarded, increasing the lead to 27-9.

It was the Legion’s turn after a 5-meter lineout, as Chris Turori scored a try. Cima’s conversion hit the posts and bounced in and the lead was cut to 27-16.

The Seawolves went to what was working a scrum after a penalty by the Legion for not rolling away. This resulted in a third penalty try and a 34-16 lead.

If the Legion were going to stage a comeback they needed tries quickly. Drew Gaffney added one in the 71st minute, with Cima converting to cut the lead to 34-23. That would not be enough as John Hayden had a strong run and Cam Polson finished, pushing the lead to 39-23 after Will Holder’s conversion went wide. That’s the way the match would end with the Seattle Seawolves gaining the win.


The Seattle Seawolves used a stellar defense and an overpowering scrum, that resulted in three penalty tries to win against the San Diego Legion. The Legion showed effective line speed early and needed to exploit ball movement swinging it back and forth wide to spread the defense.

Next week the Seattle Seawolves travel to play the Glendale Raptors, while the San Diego Legion host the Utah Warriors.

It will be interesting next week as Seattle Seawolves will match up against one of the better-scrummaging sides. Glendale will miss the physical presence of Ben Landry and flanker Connor Cook, who will also need to be replaced after getting red cards for tip tackles against Austin Elite Rugby. In the backline, both teams will look to find seams to exploit.

The San Diego Legion will play the Utah Warriors, who also have their strength in the backline. That should lead to a high scoring match.

Seattle Seawolves & San Diego Legion Squads

Seattle Seawolves: 1 Kellen Gordon 2 Ray Barkwill 3 Tim Metcher 4 Jeremy Lenaerts 5 Taylor Krumrei 6 Cam Polson 7 Aladdin Schirmer 8 Riekert Hattingh (C) 9 Phil Mack 10 Will Holder 11 Jeremy Misailegalu 12 Shalom Suniula 13 William Rasileka 14 Brock Staller 15 Mat Turner 16 Mike Shepherd 17 Vili Toluta’u 18 John Hayden 19 Olive Kilifi 20 Eric Dueschle 21 Peter Tiberio 22 Mike Garrity 23 Dion Crowder

San Diego Legion: 1 Sione Tu’ihalamaka  2 Gil Covey 3 Aaron Mitchell 4 Lance Lamprecht 5 Albert “Jay” Harmon 6  Chris Turori 7 Devin Short 8 Cam Dolan (VC) 9 Nick Boyer 10 Ben Cima 11 Nick Evans 12 JP duPlessis 13 Anthony Salaber 14 Taku Ngwenya 15 Mike Te’o 16 Pat Blair 17 Tony Purpura 18 Tasi Toilolo 19 Derrick Broussard 20 Drew Gaffney 21 Sione Letoi 22 Naima Fuala’au 23 Austin Switzer + Head Coach Rob Hoadley

Seattle Seawolves Pre-season Record (1-0)

  • April 15 vs. Wolf Pack (W 47-7)

Seattle Seawolves 2018 Major League Rugby Schedule

  • April 22 vs. San Diego Legion (W 39-23) Preview  ROOT SPORTS, ESPN+
  • April 28 vs. Glendale Raptors 7:30 pm PDT Network: CBSSN (GAME OF THE WEEK)
  • May 12 at NOLA Gold 10 am PDT Network: Cox/AT&T SportsNet
  • May 20 vs. Utah Warriors 5:30 pm PDT Network: AT&T SportsNet
  • May 27 vs NOLA Gold 5:00 pm PDT Network: Cox/AT&T SportsNet
  • June 8 at Austin Elite 6:00 pm  PDT Network: CBSSN (GAME OF THE WEEK)
  • June 16 at Glendale Raptors 6:00 pm Network: AT&T SportsNet

San Diego Legion Pre-season Record (1-1)

San Diego Legion 2018 Major League Rugby Schedule

  • April 22 at Seattle Seawolves (L 39-23) Preview Network: Cox/AT&T
  • April 29 vs. Utah Warriors 4 pm PDT Network: Cox/AT&T
  • May 4 vs. Houston SaberCats 5:30 pm PDT Network: CBSSN (GAME OF THE WEEK)
  • May 13 at Glendale Raptors 5 pm PDT Network: Cox/AT&T
  • May 26 at Austin Elite 6 pm PDT Network: CBSSN (GAME OF THE WEEK)
  • June 9 at New Orleans Gold 1 pm PDT Network: COX
  • June 17 vs. Austin Elite 5 pm PDT Network: Cox/AT&T
  • June 23  vs. Glendale Raptors 7 pm PDT
  • June 30 MLR Semi-Finals at Glendale Sat, 5-10 pm PDT Network: CBSSN
  • July 7 MLR Championship at San Diego 7-9:45 pm PDT Network: CBSSN (GAME OF THE WEEK)

Other Articles

DJCoil Rugby articles by Doug Coil are also available on Facebook. Other Social Media sites to follow or subscribe include Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube for interviews.


About Author

North American Rugby News With A USA Slant