San Diego Legion Face Austin Elite Rugby: MLR Playoffs at Stake

San Diego Legion & Austin Elite Rugby

The San Diego Legion (16 points) face the 3rd place Austin Elite Rugby (18 points) at 5 pm PT (8 pm ET) at Torero Stadium in San Diego on June 17. The winner will be in the Major League Rugby playoffs on June 30 at Infinity Park in Glendale, Colorado.

Both the Legion and Austin will want to control their destiny, so look for an entertaining and very competitive match on Sunday. Austin Elite Rugby defeated the Legion 31-5 on May 26 in Austin. With the USA Men’s Eagles facing Scotland on June 16, both teams are missing key players from the previous match.

Tickets are still available for the match. For those who can’t attend, the match will be on YurView, and Channel 4 San Diego, and AT&T Sports Net – Southwest regionally, ESPN+ nationally, and on the Major league Facebook page.

San Diego Legion

Head Coach Rob Hoadley has made one change in his starters from last week’s 39-22 win over NOLA Gold. Alec Barton replaces Devin Short at flanker. Short is playing with the USA Men’s Junior All-Americans against Canada U20s in the World Rugby Trophy Qualifier in Houston, Texas. Maceo Brown joins the squad as a reserve.

Anthony Salaber has been one of the League’s leading try scorers with five. The team averages over 26 points per match, while Austin Elite Rugby averages over 29. The Legion has been among the League leaders in scrums won and in territory possession.

This match promises to be closer than the first. The team that can minimize errors and can maintain possession will likely emerge as winners.

Austin Elite Rugby

Head Coach Alain Hyardet has made three changes in his starters since the 20-19 loss to the Seattle Seawolves last week. Mason Pedersen returns to start at tighthead prop and Roland Suniula returns at outside center with Ned Hodson switching to the wing. Mickael Romera, who played previously for Montpellier Hérault and then for US Oyannax in the Top 14, recently signed and will start at scrumhalf. The reserves also include former Eagle Lou Stanfill, another recent signing.

The team will miss Hanco Germishuys, who is tied for the MLR try scoring lead with six. He continued his scoring efforts for the US last night in the 30-29 win over Scotland. Marcus Walsh also is among the leading try scorers with four. Timothée Guillimin is also one of the best kickers in the League, so mistakes by the opposition are punished.

The team has a strong side to face the Legion. The team has been playing well and they enter the match knowing that they control their own destiny. A bonus point win would secure a third-place finish and that would mean a semi-final match against the Seattle Seawolves. A loss would complicate things, as a win next week by the Utah Warriors could have the team missing the playoffs.

San Diego Legion & Austin Elite Rugby Squads

San Diego Legion: 1 Faka’osi Pifeleti, 2 Pat Blair, 3 Nathan Sylvia, 4 Nick Grass, 5 Chris Turori, 6 Alec Barton, 7 Derrick Broussard, 8 Drew Gaffney, 9 Nick Boyer, 10 Tadhg Leader (capt.), 11 Nick Evans, 12 Anthony Salaber, 13 Ryan Matyas, 14 Taku Ngwenya, 15 Conor Kearns 16 Pat O’Toole, 17 Sione Tu’ihalamaka, 18 Aaron Mitchell, 19 Sam Peri, 20 Gil Covey, 21 Nick Lupian, 22 Maceo Brown 23 Kyle Rogers + Head Coach Rob Hoadley

Austin Elite: 1 Chris Schade, 2 Mike Brown, 3 Mason Pedersen, 4 Ben Mitchell, 5 Victor Comptat, 6 Kyle Breytenbach, 7 Ross Deacon, 8 Pedrie Wannenburg, 9 Mikael Romera, 10 Timothée Guillimin, 11 Sani Taylor, 12 Andrew Suniula (capt.), 13 Roland Suniula, 14 Ned Hodson, 15 Zinzan Elan-Puttick 16 David LeMasters, 17 Siaosi Finau, 18 Robert Drummond, 19 Lou Stanfill, 20 Alex Faison-Donahoe, 21 Marcus Walsh, 22 Zac Mizell, 23 Junior Naruma, + Head Coach Alain Hyardet

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

San Diego Legion 2018 Major League Rugby Schedule

Austin Elite Rugby Pre-season Schedule

Austin Elite Rugby 2018 Major League Rugby Schedule

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North American Rugby News With A USA Slant