The San Diego Legion hosted the Seattle Seawolves on Saturday, February 2 at Torero Stadium. The legion jumped out to a 14-3 lead at the break and held on to win 17-13 over the Seawolves.
Last week the San Deigo opened the season with a 25-23 loss to Rugby United New York and hope to derail the Seattle Seawolves this week. The Seattle Seawolves opened their season with a 20-18 win over the Glendale Raptors and seek another win.
The San Diego Legion had the first scoring opportunity from a 5-meter lineout. After several attempts to score, Joe Pietersen executed a cross kick in-goal and Seattle touched down for a 22-meter drop. This provided the Legion another chance to attack, but a turnover thwarted the attack.
Keni Nasoqeqe powered his way downfield and after a no wrap tackle by Suniula, the Legion kicked to touch for a lineout. They then mauled until within 6-meters with Riekert Hattingh moving through the middle of the maul to give the Seawolves a scrum. After one crash, Suniula cleared to their 22-meter line.
From the lineout, the Legion drove forward in a maul. Devin Short then lost the ball into contact allowing the Seawolves to clear. The Legion continued to control possession after several back-and-forth kicks. The Legion ignored an attempt at goal from a penalty and took a quick tap. Gaffney then lost control of the ball into contact close to the line. After a Seawolves scrum, the Seawolves cleared.
The Legion then had another opportunity to attack, but a crunching hit by William Rasileka on Joe Pietersen caused a delay as Pietersen needed to leave the field after a head-knock. Tai Enosa came on as his replacement.
An errant pass by Vili Toluta’u to George Barton allowed JP Duplessis to kick ahead with Peter Tiberio touching down in-goal giving the Legion a 5-meter scrum.
JP Duplessis went into contact 1-meter from the line and Phil Mack was sent to the bin for not rolling away. Two San Diego Legion scrums later, a penalty try was called for the Seawolves front row for not remaining square. The first 28 minutes, the Seawolves have had the majority of possession and they finally have a 7-0 lead.
The Seawolves attacked from a lineout and the Legion was penalized for pulling down. Brock Staller slotted the kick to cut the lead to 7-3.
The Legion used a quick lineout from Mke Te’o with Paddy Ryan passing back to Mike Te’o for a try in the right corner. Nick Boyer slotted the kick from touch pushing their lead to 14-3. The Legion add an opportunity to add points after a penalty by Seattle, but the kick was wide.
The Legion has to be pleased with taking a 14-3 lead into the break and with the team having the majority of possession and spending a great deal of time in Seawolves territory. The Seawolves meanwhile, will need to regroup at the break and feel fortunate that their defense kept the match closer than expected under the Legion’s pressure.
The second half restart by Enosa didn’t go 10-meters but was played by Vili Toluta’u, who then knocked on for a Legion scrum. A cross kick went to Mike Te’o and led to the Legion moving inside the Seawolves 22-meter line. A knock on allowed the Seawolves to attack from a scrum.
JP Duplessis retrieved a dropped ball by George Barton and the Legion attacked for a few minutes to attempt to cross the line. After a penalty by the Seawolves, Nick Boyer slotted the kick to push the lead to 17-3.
The Seawolves then had the best scoring opportunity swinging the ball wide, with Vili Toluta’u going over the line but may have knocked on. The referee brought the ball back playing advantage. after another penalty, the Legion stole a lineout and escaped danger with Seattle not rolling away. Soon after another penalty by the Seawolves allowed the Legion to kick for territory.
San Diego went on a sustained attack and then lost the ball with Vili Toluta’u kicking the ball ahead. After a few slip and slides, the ball was kicked ahead and Riekert Hattingh advanced the ball to within 5-meters of the line. The Seawolves then attacked from a 5-meter scrum and after a penalty advantage decided for another 5-meter scrum. William Rasileka on a switch sliced in for a try under the posts. Staller then slotted the kick to cut the lead to 17-10.
The Seawolves attacked from the restart and the Legion was penalized after a Toluta’u run. This allowed the Seawolves to attack from a lineout and another penalty had Staller cutting the lead to 17-13 after a kick.
The Seawolves continued to attack and Suniula bounced the ball out within 10 meters of the line. The play was stopped with Vili Toluta’u suffering a leg injury and it is hoped that is is not serious.
When play resumed, the Seawolves stole the lineout and then maintained possession from a lineout of their own. After two San Diego scrums, the Seawolves were penalized and the Legion kicked for territory and took more time off the clock. Only 5 minutes remaining in the match.
The Legion held off the Seawolves in the final minutes and won their first match of the season 17-13. With the win, the Legion move into second place with 5 points, with the Seawolves also with 5 points in 3rd.
Mike Te’o was named Man of the Match.
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San Diego Legion: 1 Nathan Sylvia 2 Deon Muir 3 Paddy Ryan 4 Lou Stanfill 5 Keni Nasoqeqe 6 Chris Turori 7 Devin Short 8 Drew Gaffney 9 Nick Boyer10 Joe Pietersen11Marcus Tupuola 12 JP du Plessis 13 Jasa Veremalua 14 Mike Te’o 15 Kyle Rogers 16 Kapeli Pifeleti 17 Faka’osi Pifeleti 18 Aaron Mitchell 19 Sione Tu’ihalamaka 20 Alec Barton 21 Tai Enosa 22 Nate Augspurger 23 Save Totovosau
Seattle Seawolves: 1 Olive Kilifi 2 Stephan Coetzee 3 Tim Metcher 4 Apisai Naikatini 5 Taylor Krumrei 6 Brad Tucker 7 Vili Toluta’u 8 Riekert Hattingh 9 Phil Mack 10 Shalom Suniula 11 Peter Tiberio 12 George Barton 13 William Rasileka 14 Brock Staller 15 Mat Turner 16 Mike Shepherd 17 Kellen Gordon 18 John Hayden 19 Jérémy Lenaerts 20 Eric Duechle 21 Cole Van Harn 22 JP Smith 23 Scott Dean