San Diego Legion Outlast Utah Warriors

San Diego Legion & Utah Warriors

The San Diego Legion defeated the Utah Warriors 31-24 in their home Major League Rugby opener at Torero Stadium on Sunday, April 29.

With the win, the San Diego Legion move to 1-1, while the Utah Warriors are 0-1. San Diego will host the Houston SaberCats on May 4, while the Utah Warriors hos the Glendale Raptors on May 5.

San Diego Legion vs. Utah Warriors Recap

The San Diego Legion struck first with a try by Sione Tu’ihalamaka and a conversion by Tadhg Leader to take a 7-0 lead in the 2nd minute. Three minutes later the Utah Warriors tried to narrow the score with a penalty kick by Kurt Morath, but the kick was wide.

In the 9th minute, the Legion mauled after a 5-meter lineout and Tony Purpura grounded the ball for a try to lead 12-0.

The Utah Warriors countered with a try by Joseph Nicholls after a 5-meter scrum and Kurt Morath converted to narrow the score to 12-7. In the 39th minute, Saia Uhila also went over from a 5-meter scrum and after Morath converted, the Warriors had a 14-12 lead.

Just prior to the half, Devon Short was awarded a try in the corner, even though his right foot was in touch. With that, the Legion took a 17-14 lead into the break.

Second Half

The Utah Warriors created a penalty by the Legion from a scrum on their drive. This resulted in a penalty attempt that went wide by Morath.

A few minutes later, a lost ball by Fetu’u Vainikolo was picked up by Taku Ngwenya. A box kick by Nate Augspurger was tapped back by JP DuPlessis to Anthony Salaber who motored in for a try. After leader converted the lead was 24-14.

San Diego had an opportunity to increase the lead, but a kick by Leader was wide. When it was Morath’s turn, he slotted the kick to narrow the lead to 24-17.

The try of the match came next from a Leader cross-kick to Ryan Matyas in-goal for a try. Dylan Audsley converted to push the score to 31-17.

The Warriors attacked with urgency and Ben Nicholls added a try from 10-meters out in the 77th minute. Morath also converted to pull the match to within a converted try 31-24. The Warriors did have another attacking opportunity after claiming the restart, but a knock on ultimately ended the match.

Conclusion

Even though the Legion jumped out to a 12-0 lead, the match was relatively even at the break. The Warriors placed the Legion under pressure in the scrums, while the Legion tried to attack the wide channels. The Warriors also had a number of attacks thwarted by knock-ons. As usual, runs by Paul Lasike and Fetu’u Vainikolo demand attention.

Kurt Morath was an excellent addition to the Warriors and the team appears to be improving with each match. The Legion also enjoyed greater success with its even more potent backline.

Siaosi Mahoni was also a good addition to the Legion and Jay Harmon had a big day.

San Diego Legion & Utah Warriors Squads

San Diego Legion: 1 Sione Tu’ihalamaka, 2 Pat Blair, 3 Tony Purpura, 4 Siaosi Mahoni, 5 Jay Harmon, 6 Chris Turori, 7 Devin Short, 8 Cam Dolan, 9 Nate Augspurger (capt.), 10 Tadhg Leader, 11 Ryan Matyas, 12 JP du Plessis, 13 Anthony Salaber, 14 Taku Ngwenya, 15 Dylan Audsley 16 Gil Covey, 17 Aaron Mitchell, 18 Tasi Toilolo, 19 Derrick Broussard, 20 Lance Lamprecht, 21 Nick Boyer, 22 Ben Cima, 23 Naima Fuala’au + Head Coach Rob Hoadley

Utah Warriors: 1 Alex Tucci, 2 Lote Tu’ipulotu, 3 Angus MacLellan, 4 Matt Jensen, 5 Kory Olsen, 6 Kenny Scott, 7 Lance Williams, 8 Saia Uhila, 9 Joseph Nicholls, 10 Kurt Morath, 11 Fetu’u Vainikolo, 12 Paul Lasike (capt.), 13 Jared Whippy, 14 Josh Anderson, 15 Tonata Lauti 16 Alex Vorster, 17 Maika Hafoka, 18 John Martinez, 19 David Tameilau, 20 AJ Tu’ineau, 21 Ben Nicholls, 22 Paki Afu, 23 Don Pati + Head Coach Alf Daniels

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 (W 31-24) Preview 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
    Network: CBSSN (GAME OF THE WEEK)
  • 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)

Utah Warriors Pre-season

Utah Warriors 2018 Major League Rugby Season

  • April 29 at San Diego Legion (L 31-24) Preview Cox/AT&T SportsNet, ESPN+
  • May 5 vs Glendale Raptors 1:30 pm MDT Network: AT&T SportsNet, ESPN+
  • May 11 vs Austin Elite Rugby 7 pm MDT Network: CBSSN, ESPN+
  • May 20 at Seattle Seawolves 6:30 pm MDT Network: ROOT SPORTS, ESPN+
  • May 26 at Houston SaberCats 4 pm MDT Network: AT&T SportsNet, ESPN+
  • June 1 at Austin Elite Rugby 7 pm MDT Network: AT&T SportsNet, ESPN+
  • June 16 vs New Orleans Gold 2 pm MDT Network: CBSSN, ESPN+
  • June 23 vs Houston SaberCats 1 pm Network: AT&T SportsNet, ESPN+

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