Match Preview: LA Giltinis vs San Diego Legion

The LA Giltinis hosts San Diego Legion on Saturday, April 24 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum at 6 pm local (9 pm ET). the match will be the first one for LA in which fans may attend. For those who can’t attend, the match will be broadcast on CBS Sports Network and internationally on The Rugby Network, with a 24-hour delay domestically on the latter.

The  4-0, first place Giltinis, features the league’s first-ranked offense against the 2-3 San Diego Legion, which also has a high-powered attack. Expect a high-scoring exciting match between what will develop quickly as a rivalry.

The Giltinis has Flyhalf Matt Giteau (knee) and No.8 Pago Haini (quadricep) out with injuries. Head Coach Darren Coleman has made three changes in the starters and in the reserves. Jean-Pierre Smith returns from a knee injury at loosehead prop, Adam Ashe returns at No.8, and John Ryberg will be on his customary right-wing after having been rested last week.

In the reserves, Sean McNulty returns from his rotation with Lyndsey Stevens at hooker, Langilangi Haupeakui is back from a minor injury in the back row, and Seru Vularika could make his MLR debut at inside center.

San Diego Legion co-head coaches Scott Murray and Zack Test have made three starter changes, as well as one in the reserves from last week’s win over Utah. Jasa Veremalua returns from the reserves at blindside flanker in place of Keni Nasoqeqe, who has an upper-body injury. With the broken ankle suffered last week by Dylan Audsley, Cam Clark shifts to inside center, pairing with Ryan Matyas at outside center, with Save Totovosau returning on the right wing.

Patrick Madden joins the roster on the reserves, which utilizes a traditional 5/3 split.

The LA Giltinis feature the number one scoring offensive team in Major League Rugby with 190 points scored in 4 matches while conceding 102. San Diego also is a talented team in the attack scoring 128 but conceding 151. The Legion will need to minimize penalties (63) which could have the Giltinis attacking from inside Legion territory. LA has committed the second-fewest penalties in the league with 48.

The Legion will pull out all stops to get back into the Western Conference race, as a loss would have their record dropping to 2-4. With a win, they could be in contention again near the top of the Conference standings pending the outcome of Austin and Utah’s matches.

With the Legion playing down the road at Dignity Health Sports Park this season, after beginning the season in Las Vegas, this has the makings of a rivalry match. Both teams will be trying to make a statement and gain a win.

The Giltinis will have fans at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum for the first time this season, as California begins to open up from the pandemic restrictions.

Squads with Player Article Links

San Diego Legion: 1 Nate Sylvia 2 Pete MalcolmChris Baumann 4 Ben Mitchell 5 Siaosi ‘CC’ Mahoni 6  Jasa Veremalua 7 Psalm Wooching 8 Tevita Tameilau 9 Nate Augspurger 10 Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias 11 Bjorn Basson 12 Cam Clark 13 Ryan Matyas 14 Save Totovosau 15 Cecil Afrika 16 Dean Muir 17 Cronan Gleeson 18 Aaron Mitchell 19 Travis Larsen 20 Michael Smith 21 Carlo De Nysschen 22 Cole Zarcone 23 Patrick Madden

Referee: Scott Green Assistant Referees: Marquise Goodwin (USA) & Andrew Stockton (USA)

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