San Diego Legion played the Glendale Raptors at Torero Stadium in their final preseason match before the regular season. After the teams traded leads during the match, Glendale scored two late tries for a 38-31 win over San Diego.
Last week the Legion beat Life West 76-0 in their first preseason match. The Glendale Raptors played a Fall exhibition season, but the match against the Legion was their first 2019 encounter. The Raptors will finish their preseason on January 19 at the Houston SaberCats.
Both teams will open their regular Major League Rugby season on Sunday, January 27. The Legion will host Rugby United New York at 2 pm PT with the match being broadcast on ESPN+, SNY, and YurView. The Raptors will travel to Seattle to face the Seawolves in a re-match of the 2018 Championship Final at 7:30 pm PT. That match will be broadcast on CBSSN as the Game of the Week.
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The San Diego Legion controlled the majority of the possession and Keni Nasoqeqe barrelled over for a try from a lineout near the line. Joe Pietersen’s conversion was wide right. Several minutes later, Ryan Matyas intercepted a pass and raced over 50-meters for a try and after Pietersen slotted the kick the score was 12-0. Unfortunately, Matysas left the match due to injury with Nick Lupian as his replacement.
Glendale answered back with a try by Kody O’Neil from a breakdown. Will Magie converted to cut the lead to 12-7. The Raptors then took the lead as fullback Dylan Taikato-Simpson intercepting a pass and outpacing the Legion for a long try in the right corner to level the match at 12 all. Magie’s conversion attempt was then missed right from touch.
Glendale took their first lead after a few phases with offloads from Mika Kruse to Dylan Taikato-Simpson to Hanco Germishuys coming down the wide left channel for a try. Another conversion from touch was missed by Magie, but the Raptors took a 17-12 lead into the break.
The Raptors extended the lead to 24-12 after Luke White mauled his way over the line after a lineout and Magie converted.
San Diego answered back after a couple of runs by Alec Barton and marched to within 5-meters of the line before Nick Boyer went right after a breakdown for a try. Pietersen then converted cutting the lead to 24-19.
The Legion attacked again with Devin Short finding a gap. The team kept the pressure on the Raptors advancing to within 10-meters of the line. Shaun Davies was then sent to the bin in the 55th minute.
A few minutes later, the Legion capitalizing on the Raptors being down a man with a try by Save Totovosau to knot the match at 24 all. Pietersen’s conversion was then missed.
In the 74th minute the Legion scored a go-ahead try with Joe Pietersen grounding the ball after a few picks-and-goes by the forwards. He e then slotted the conversion for a 31-24 lead.
Glendale answered back in the 78th minute after breaks by Robbie Petzer and Harley Davidson before a short chip by Magie was take by Zach Fenoglio in for a try. Magie then converted to tie the match at 31 all.
With one minute remaining in the match, the Raptors Ata Malifa claimed the restart, Marco Fepulea’i had a short run and the ball was cleared and after some back and forth kicks, Glendale had a lineout 7 meters out. Will Magie attempted a cross kick to try to end the match, but the referee brought the ball back after a penalty advantage. Magie kciked to touch for a 5-meter lineout. Brendan Daly claimed the ball and mauled to within a meter of the line, before Hanco Germishuys grounded the ball in the 82nd minute for the win. Magie then slotted the conversion for a final score of 38-31.
The match was a thrilling one for the fans and both teams played well.
The match day squad for the Legion was not announced. The San Diego match day squad was based on sight during the stream. Not publishing squads ahead of the match is a major concern when covering matches and does not allow the fans to follow the match effectively.
San Diego Legion: 1 Nathan Sylvia 2 Kapeli Pifeleti 3 Paddy Ryan 4 Chris Turori 5 Keni Nasoqeqe 6 Pat Blair 7 Devin Short 8 Drew Gaffney 9 Nick Boyer 10 Joe Pietersen 11 Jasa Veremalua 12 JP du Plessis 13 Ryan Matyas 14 Save Totovosau 15 Conor Kearns 16 Deon Muir 17 Fakalosi Pifeleti 18 Aaron Mitchell 19 Sione Tu’halamaka 20 Alec Barton 21 Tai Enosa 22 Nick Lupian 23 Nick Evans
- Prop – Faka’osi Pifeleti, Matt Sandell, Sione Tu’ihalamaka, Aaron Mitchell, Paddy Ryan, Nathan Sylvia
- Hooker – Pat Blair, Gil Covey, Kapeli Pifeleti, Deon Muir
- Lock – Liam Hallam-Eames, Jay Harmon, Siaosi Mahoni, Lou Stanfill
- Back Row – Alec Barton, Derrick Broussard, Devin Short, Chris Turori, Psalm Wooching, Drew Gaffney, Keni Nasoqeqe
- Scrum Half – Nate Augspurger (SH/W), Nick Boyer, Tai Enosa (SH/FH)
- Flyhalf – Joe Pietersen
- Center – Dylan Audsley, JP du Plessis, Nick Lupian, Ryan Matyas
- Back 3: Nick Evans, Save Totovosau, Jasa Veremalua, Conor Kearns (FB/FH), Mike Te’o
Glendale Raptors: 1 Blake Rogers 2 Chad Gough 3 Kelepi Fifita 4 Kody O’Neil 5 Luke White (VC) 6 Brendan Daly 7 Hanco Germishuys 8 Connor Cook 9 Shaun Davies (C) 10 Will Magie 11 Harley Davidson 12 Ata Malifa 13 Mika Kruse 14 Nick Johnson 15 Dylan Taikato-Simpson 16 Zach Fenoglio 17 Marco Fepulea’i 18 Max Lum 19 Dwayne Pienaar 20 Malon Al-Jiboori 21 Carlo De Nysschen 22 Robbie Petzer 23 Campbell Johnstone