Seattle Seawolves Overcome Glendale Raptors to Win Major League Rugby Championship Shield

Major League Rugby Championship

The Seattle Seawolves defeated the Glendale Raptors 23-19 to win inaugural Major League Rugby Championship Shield on July 7 at Torero Stadium in San Diego. The third time was a charm for the Seawolves as 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.

Both teams proved that they were the top two teams in the League during the regular season. Glendale was 7-1 during the season, while Seattle was 6-2. Both teams averaged over 30 points per match, yet also had stellar defenses. That was the case in this match as the Seawolves held a narrow 8-7 lead at the break and then overcame a 19-8 deficit before coming back with 15 unanswered points to claim the Shield.

Match Recap

The Raptors Will Magie kicked off to begin the match and the Seattle struck first with a penalty kick by Pete Smith to take a 3-0 lead. Smith had another opportunity soon after to increase the lead after a Sam Figg penalty, but missed wide left.

Glendale answered back when Zach Fenoglio scored after a driving maul and after Will Magie slotted the kick, the Raptors held a 7-3 lead.

Seattle’s Matt Turner grounded the ball in-goal in the 28th minute, but the score was disallowed for an obstruction. The Raptors had a similar incident several minutes later, as Harley Davidson apparent try was voided with the referee indicated he knocked on.

Finally, it was the Seawolves turn to execute their own driving maul as Ray Barkwill peeled off the maul and grounded the ball for a try. Pete Smith’s conversion just missed the uprights, but the Seawolves took an 8-7 lead into the break.

Glendale reclaimed the lead early in the second half, as the forwards powered their way to the line with Fenoglio adding his second try. Magie then missed the conversion as the Raptors took a 12-8 lead.

Seattle then attacked through multiple phases into Raptors territory, but a knock on shifted the ball to the Raptors. Shaun Davies moved the ball wide and Bryce Campbell finished with a try and a Magie conversion increasing the lead to 19-8.

This is where the Seawolves showed their resolve during the final 20 minutes of the match. The Seawolves used runs by Toluta’u and by Hattingh to open up the Raptors defense and swung the ball out to William Rasileka, who scooped the ball up and scored a try in the corner, cutting the lead to 19-13.

Seattle then added another try counterattacking from a Magie kick, with Riekert Hattingh finishing with a break and a try. Smith added the conversion and the Seawolves regained the lead 20-19.

The Seawolves would increase the lead to 23-19 after an offsides call, meaning that the Raptors would need to score a try. That did not happen in the final ten minutes of play and Seattle claimed the inaugural Major League Rugby Championship Shield.

Player-Coach Phil Mack said after the match that “Obviously we are extremely proud to have won this under our circumstances. Big credit goes to all the front office staff and the Seawolves organization, as well as all the support Seattle has given us from the first match to the final whistle. Bringing back this trophy to Seattle just reinforces the fact that professional rugby belongs in the Pacific Northwest.”

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 Sequoyah Burke-Combs 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 Mozac Samson

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