Major League Rugby Championship
The Glendale Raptors will face the Seattle Seawolves for the inaugural Major League Rugby Championship on July 7 at 6 pm PT (9 pm ET) at Torero Stadium in San Diego. The match will be broadcast live on CBS Sports Network and tickets are still available.
To advance to the championship the first-place Glendale Raptors beat the Utah Warriors 34-21 in the Semi-Finals, while the second-place Seattle Seawolves beat the San Diego Legion 38-24.
The Raptors defeated the Seattle side twice in the regular season, the first in Seattle on April 19-14 and again in June in Glendale 33-11.
Head Coach David Williams has made one change in his starters from the semi-finals with Peter Dahl replacing Dylan Fawsitt at flanker. Fawsitt moves to the reserves with Grigor Kerdikosvili and Nick Johnson on the squad.
Williams said that the Raptors slightly altered their training protocol in preparation for the match: “We have actually gone a bit lighter with our volume and increased our intensity.” He continued, saying that playing at sea level might give the Raptors an edge: “We love the advantage we have coming from altitude. The boys will love running around with big gulps of air in their lungs,” he said with a grin. Several of Glendale’s players have also recently returned from a sweep of the June test series as USA Eagles, scrum-half Davies among them. Questioned on how to translate that momentum into a championship win, Williams is complimentary but challenging: “The Eagles had three great games: against Russia, and especially Scotland, and then they hammered Canada. They bring that energy and confidence back into our training sessions. We’re rolling. We’re not ready to be finished with the season to be quite honest.” Not exactly fighting words, the Raptors coach does make clear that the Glendale team has more rugby to play before MLR’s first year comes to a close.
Shawn Davies said the Raptors have to allow themselves to implement what they’ve practiced: “A big thing for us is patience with ball in hand. We know we have to go through the phases, we know we have to win the physicality. If we do that, we’ll have a lot of success.” Williams again echoes his team captain: “If we don’t win the physicality in any game of rugby, we won’t be successful. Scrums and lineouts will be huge. Seattle prides themselves on their scrum, so if we can hold them there like we did in the first and second games against them this season, we will do well.”
Several Raptors were selected to the All-MLR team by selected members of the rugby media. Zach Fenoglio, Ben Landry, and Harley Davidson were selected to the first team, while Peter Dahl, Sam Figg, Shawn Davies, and Will Magie were selected to the second team.
The Seattle Seawolves played a spirited MLR semi-final match against the San Diego Legion winning 38-24. The scrum was outstanding and the line speed on defense, especially in the red zone, has been stellar all season. With that in mind, the team remains intact for the Finals against the Glendale Raptors.
The Raptors won both head-to-head matches against Seawolves. The first was very close and the second was played with both teams missing players due to international tests. The Raptors may have an edge in the reserves, so with the teams at full strength, expect a close final.
Several Seawolves were selected to the All-MLR team by selected members of the rugby media. Tim Metcher, Vili Toluta’u, Phil Mack, and Mat Turner were selected to the first team, while Olive Kilifi was selected to the second team.
Glendale Raptors & Seattle Seawolves Squads
Glendale Raptors: 1 Blake Rogers 2 Zach Fenoglio (C) 3 Kelepi Fifita 4 Dakota O’Neil 5 Ben Landry 6 Peter Dahl 7 John Quill 8 Sam Figg 9 Shaun Davies 10 Will Magie 11 Mika Kruse 12 Bryce Campbell 13 Chad London 14 Harley Davidson 15 Maximo de Achaval 16 Luke White 17 Nick Kwasniewski 18 Dylan Fawsitt 19 Connor Cook 20 Grigor Kerdikosvili 21 Mickey Bateman 22 Ata Malifa 23 Nick Johnson + Head Coach David Williams
Seattle Seawolves: 1 Olive Kilifi 2 Ray Barkwill 3 Tim Metcher 4 Taylor Krumrei 5 Cam Polson 6 Eric Duechle 7 Vili Toluta’u 8 Riekert Hattingh (VC) 9 Phil Mack 10 Peter Smith 11 Peter Tiberio 12 Shalom Suniula (C) 13 William Rasileka 14 Brock Staller 15 Mat Turner 16 Mike Sheperd 17 John Hayden 18 Kellen Gordon 19 Cole van Harn 20 Aladdin Schirmer 21 Andre Coquillard 22 Jeremy Misailegalu 23 Sequoyah Burke-Combs
Glendale Raptors Exhibition Season
- March 10 vs. New Orleans Gold (W 38-14) Preview
- March 30 at Utah Warriors (W 42-15) Preview
- April 7 at New York Athletic Club (W 35-22) Preview with March 30 recap against Utah Warriors
Glendale Raptors 2018 Major League Rugby Season
- April 21 vs. Austin Elite (W 41-26) Preview CBSSN (GAME OF THE WEEK)
- April 28 at Seattle Seawolves (W 19-15) Preview CBSSN (GAME OF THE WEEK)
- May 5 at Utah Warriors (W 36-29) Preview AT&T SportsNet
- May 13 vs. San Diego Legion (W 31-27) Preview Cox/AT&T SportsNet
- June 3 at New Orleans Gold (W 47-10) Preview 2 pm MDT Network: Cox/AT&T SportsNet
- June 8 vs. Houston SaberCats (37-24) Preview AT&T SportsNet
- June 16 vs. Seattle Seawolves (W 33-11) Preview 7 pm MST Network: AT&T SportsNet
- June 23 at San Diego Legion (L 23-5) Preview 8 pm MT CBSSN
- June 30 MLR Semi-Finals at Glendale vs Utah Warriors (W 34-21) Preview CBSSN
- July 7 MLR Championship at San Diego vs. Seattle Seawolves Preview 7-9:45 pm PDT CBSSN
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 (L 19-15) Preview CBSSN (GAME OF THE WEEK)
- May 12 at NOLA Gold (W 31-29) Preview Cox/AT&T SportsNet
- May 20 vs. Utah Warriors (W 41-32) Preview Root Sports NW
- May 27 vs NOLA Gold (W 55-26) Preview Cox/AT&T SportsNet
- June 2 at Houston SaberCats (W 20-7) Preview CBSSN (Game of the Week)
- June 8 at Austin Elite (W 20-19) Preview CBSSN (GAME OF THE WEEK)
- June 16 at Glendale Raptors (L 33-11) Preview 6:00 pm Network: AT&T SportsNet
- June 30 MLR Semi-Finals at Glendale vs San Diego Legion (W 38-24) Preview CBSSN
- July 7 MLR Championship at San Diego vs. Glendale Raptors Preview 7-9:45 pm PDT CBSSN