Austin Elite Rugby & Utah Warriors Battle for Playoffs

Austin Elite Rugby & Utah Warriors

Austin Elite Rugby hosts the Utah Warriors on June 1 at Round Rock Multipurpose Complex with the kickoff at 8 pm CDT (9 pm ET). For those not being able to attend, the match is being broadcast locally on AT&T Sports Net, nationally on ESPN+, and internationally on the Major League Rugby Facebook page.

Major League Rugby Standings

Leading the MLR standings is the Seattle Seawolves with 21 points. The undefeated Glendale Raptors are in second place with 19 points but have a game in hand over the other League teams.

This match pits the 4th place Austin against the 3rd place in the Major League Rugby standings, Utah. The Warriors have 14 points, while Austin Elite has 12. NOLA Gold also has 12 points but is in 5th place based on point differential. The San Diego Legion has 11 points, with the Houston SaberCats trailing with 9.

The top four teams will earn playoff spots, so teams will need all the points they can in the final three matches (Glendale with 4).

Austin Elite Rugby

Head Coach Alain Hyardet has made two changes in his starters from last week’s 31-5 win over the San Diego Legion. Mike Brown returns at hooker with Chris Schade moving to loosehead prop. Alex Faison-Donahoe also will be at wing. There are also two changes in the reserves with Robert LeMasters and Pita Naruma selected.

Austin Elite Rugby traveled to Utah on May 11, losing to the Warriors 42-21. Austin Elite Rugby, while winless away, is undefeated at home. With playoff spots at stake, expect this to be a close match.

The USA Rugby Men’s Eagles players have been in camp since Sunday in preparation for playing Russia on June 9, Scotland on June 16, and Canada on June 23. It was not expected that Eagles players would be available for Major League Rugby matches once the camp began. Credit Gary Gold and Major League Rugby for making players available this weekend.

Austin Elite Rugby has the leading MLR try scorer in Hanco Germishuys. The Utah Warriors have Paul Lasike and Tevita Tameilau on the team.

Austin Elite Rugby needs to seize the opportunity to earn a bonus point win this week. The final two matches pit the team against the Seattle Seawolves and the San Diego Legion.

Utah Warriors

Head Coach Alf Daniels has made five changes since last week’s 36-30 win over the Houston SaberCats. Tino Mafi, John Cullen, and Jonny Linehan get their first start at hooker, lock, and at flyhalf, respectively, with Lote Tu’ipulotu moving to loosehead prop. Linehan, who moved last week from the broadcast booth and into the reserves has the task of replacing Kurt Morath, who will be playing for Tonga. Morath’s leadership and kicking prowess will be missed.

AJ Tu’ineau and Alekisa Kalougata also return to the starters at outside center and fullback, respectively. Fets Vainikola moves from outside center to wing.

The Utah Warriors will be without Don Pati, who was involved in a car accident on the way to training on Memorial Day. Although his car was totaled, when he was hit by a DUI driver, Pati, fortunately, escaped injury.

The Utah Warriors enter the match in third place in the Major League Rugby standings could likely cement a playoff spot with a win. The team will also be without Paul Lasike, Tevita Tameilau, and Kurt Morath for the remainder of the regular season. The Warriors will play NOLA Gold and the Houston SaberCats in their final two matches.

Austin Elite Rugby & Utah Warriors Squads

Austin Elite: 1 Chris Schade 2 Mike Brown 3 Paddy Ryan 4 Ben Mitchell 5 Victor Comptat 6 Kyle Breytenbach 7 Hanco Germishuys 8 Pedrie Wannenburg 9 Marcus Walsh 10 Timothée Guillimin 11 Sani Taylor 12 Andrew Suniula 13 Roland Suniula 14 Alex Faison-Donahoe 15 Zinzan Elan-Puttick 16 Robert Lemasters 17 Siaosi Finau 18 Robert Drummond 19 Pita Naruma 20 Ross Deacon 21 Ned Hodson 22 Knute O’Donnell 23 Zac Mizell + Head Coach Alain Hyardet

Utah Warriors: 1 Lote Tu’ipulotu  2 Tino Mafi 3 Angus MacLellan 4 Matt Jensen 5 John Cullen 6 Lance Williams 7 Ara Elkington 8 Saia Uhila, (VC) 9 Joseph Nicholls 10 Jonny Linehan 11 Fetu’u Vainikolo 12 Paul Lasike (C) 13 AJ Tu’ineau 14 Tonata Lauti 15 Alekisa Kalougata 16 Ray Forrester 17 Maka Tameilau 18 Les Soloai 19 Alex Tucci  20 Tevita ‘David’ Tameilau 21 Josh Anderson 22 Iniki Fa’amausili 23 Ben Nicholls + Head Coach Alf Daniels

Austin Elite Rugby Pre-season Schedule

Austin Elite Rugby 2018 Major League Rugby Schedule

Utah Warriors Pre-season

Utah Warriors 2018 Major League Rugby Season

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North American Rugby News With A USA Slant