The San Diego Legion host the Seattle Seawolves on Saturday, February 2 at 3:30 pm PT at Torero Stadium. Tickets are available for the match and there is a live broadcast on ESPN+, Fox 5 San Diego and Root Sports in the Pacific Northwest. The match is also available internationally on the USMLR Facebook page.
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 Legion forwards were very effective in set pieces last week with Paddy Ryan leading the charge in the scrums. Why argue with success, so the forwards remain unchanged.
There are several changes in the backs, one needed with Dyland Audsley with the USA in Chile to open the 2019 Americas Rugby Championship. Jasa Veremalua shifted from wing to outside center to cover. Mike Te’o is healthy and gets the start at wing. The team also sees two former Collegiate All-Americans, Marcus Tupuola and Kyle Rogers at wing and fullback, respectively. The halfbacks remain keys to the Legion attack with last week’s Man of the Match Joe Pietersen running the attack and pairing with Nick Boyer.
When it is time for the reserves to contribute, one key player to watch is Nate Augspurger, as he returns from an injury sustained just prior to the November Internationals. The others have the skill and the pace to contribute as they enter the match.
The Seattle Seawolves showed that they will be a difficult opponent with their win over the Glendale Raptors last week. They have one of the strongest set of forwards in the league. Both teams should do well on their ball in the scrums, but the Seawolves will look to attack from the lineouts.
The Seawolves have made a change in the backs as Shalom Suniula moves from inside center to flyhalf for the match with George Barton moving into a starting role. The backs are led by Phil Mack with his sniping play and his distribution skills. The centers are powerful with executing crash ball and their back three compliments when they play expansive rugby.
One of the strengths of the Seawolves is their defense. They cover wide ball well. Teams will need to keep the Seawolves honest with the crash ball to set up an expansive attack. The Seawall also comes into play in the red zone, as they repel players from crossing the line.
All the Major League Rugby matches this season have been decided in the closing minutes and this match should be an exciting one between two of the best teams in the league.
Squads + Player Article Links
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