LA opened their inaugural Major League Rugby season with a 42-27 win over the New England Free Jacks on Saturday, March 20 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
DTH Van der Merwe went into the team’s record book scoring the team’s first try from a pop pass by Matt Giteau, who then converted to lead 7-0 after 4 minutes. Van der Merwe added a brace five minutes later as the team had numbers left. Giteau again slotted the kick, 14-0.
New England countered after a lineout 5-meters from in-goal with Joe Johnston peeling blind for a try in the left corner with Beaudein Waaka converting to cut the lead to 14-7.
Two minutes later, the Free Jacks Aleki Morris-Lome was sent to the bin in the 25th minute for a similar tip tackle. In the 27th minute, Mitch Wilson joined him with another tip tackle on Bill Meakes, as he was catching a pass.
This gave the Giltinis a clear numbers advantage, however, with the team being short a man, a skip pass by Aleki Morris-Lome to Beaudein Waaka, had him grounding in the right corner to cut the lead to 21-17 at the break.
The Giltinis backs continued to entertain with ball movement which resulted in an Adam Ashley-Cooper try in the left corner in the 57th minute, with Giteau being perfect on the day kicking with his 5th conversion, 35-20.
The team would add a 6th try in the 73rd minute with Pago Haini barrelling over in-goal in the right corner and Luke Carty adding the extras to lead 42-20.
New England kept up their resolve with Vili Toluta’u scoring a try in the right corner from a maul, and Harrison Boyle slotting the conversion for a final score of 42-27.
The LA Giltinis are certainly pleased with their attacking explosion. DTH Van der Merwe was the Man of the Match.
Squads with Player Article Links
LA Giltinis: 1 JP Smith 2 Mahe Vailanu 3 Charlie Abel 4 Dave Dennis (c) 5 Nathan den Hoedt 6 Angus Cottrell 7 Christian Poidevin 8 Adam Ashe 9 Harrison Goddard 10 Matt Giteau 11 DTH Van der Merwe 12 Bill Meakes 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper 14 John Ryberg15 Glenn Bryce 16 Sean McNulty 17 Blake Rogers 18 Firkkie de Beer 19 Corey Thomas 20 Pago Haini 21 Cristian Rodriguez 22 Luke Carty 23 Ryan James
New England Free Jacks: 1 Sef Fa’gase 2 Pieter Jansen 3 Erich de Jager 4 Josh Larsen (c) 5 Jackson Thiebes 6 Evan Geist 7 Joe Johnston 8 Justin Johnson 9 John Poland 10 Harrison Boyle 11 Mitch Wilson 12 Aleki Morris Lome 13 Poasa Waqanibau 14 Dougie Fife 15 Beaudein Waaka (VC) 16 Vili Toluta’u 17 Kensuke Hatakeyama 18 Kyle Ciquera 19 Ronan McCusker 20 Matt Wirken 21 Oliver Engelhart 22 Wian Conradie 23 Harry Barlow
Tries – D. van der Merwe 2 (4′, 9′), A. Cottrell (19′), M. Vailanu (44′), A. Ashley-Cooper (57′), P. Haini (73′)
Cons – M. Giteau 5 (5′,9′, 20′,45′, 58′), L. Carty (74′)
Yellow cards – C. Poidevin (21′)
NEW ENGLAND 27
Tries – J. Johnston (14′), B. Waaka (37′), V. Toluta’u (78′)
Cons – B. Waaka (15′, 38′), H.Boyle (79′)
Pens – B. Waaka (23′), J. Poland (47′)
Yellow cards – A. Morris-Lome (25′), Mitch Wilson (27′)
Red cards – J. Poland (51′)
Match Officials: Referee – Derek Summers
The Giltinis are back to play their next MLR match against Seattle Seawolves on Sunday, March 28 at their home ground, the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The match will be broadcast live at 5:30 pm PT on Fox Sports West / Prime Ticket in Los Angeles and can also be viewed live on The Rugby Network in other parts of the U.S. and internationally.
The Free jacks will travel to Houston to meet the SaberCats on Saturday, March 27 with the kickoff at 8 pm ET. The match may be viewed on AT&T Sports in Houston, NESN in New England, and The Rugby Network in other parts of the U.S. and internationally.