Austin Gilgronis hosts the Seattle Seawolves on Sunday, April 25 at 5 pm local (7 pm ET) at Bold Stadium. The match is being broadcast on KBVO, Root Sports, and streamed on The Rugby Network.
The Gigronis have a 3-2 record with 16 points in the MLR Western Conference standings and come into the match with three consecutive wins, a team record. With the LA Giltinis undefeated at 5-0 with 25 points, and the Utah Warriors with a 3-3 record and 19 points, the battle for the two playoff spots will be intense. San Diego Legion, Houston SaberCats, and Seattle follow with 13, 12, and 6 points.
Austin claimed a 17-15 win over Rugby ATL last weekend with a penalty goal by Mack Mason in the 82nd minute. The Seattle Seawolves meanwhile lost 52-7 to the Toronto Arrows, which was the largest losing margin in MLR history at 45.
Austin Gilgronis has the league’s best defense in points conceded with 74, with only the Free Jacks under 100 with 93. Seattle has conceded 154 points in 4 matches, which is second to the Houston SaberCats which have conceded 162 in 5 matches. Austin has scored 100 points to 77 for the Seawolves.
The set pieces have Austin winning 88 lineouts to 66 for Seattle, while the Seawolves have an edge in the scrums, winning 92.86%, while the Gilgronis is at 88.89%.
Austin Gilgronis Head Coach Sam Harris has made four changes in the starters with Cam Dodson, Marcelo Torrealba, and Ned Hodson moving from the reserves to starting at lock, scrumhalf, and the inside center, respectively. Frank Halai joins the starters at wing.
Moe Abdelmonem, Cole Davis, and Rodrick Waters are rested this week, with Christian Ostberg providing cover at lock, Zinzan Elan-Puttick returning from injury at fullback, and Pele Cowley and Kurt Morath moving to the reserves.
Austin is looking to extend its winning streak to a team-high four games and looks like a contending team in the Western Conference.
The Seattle Seawolves announced earlier in the week that coaching changes have been made. Pate Tuilevuka, is the Interim Head Coach, with Kees Lensing moving to an Assistant Coach. Allen Clarke and Rory Best, join the club for the remainder of the 2021 season to bolster Seattle’s technical and high-performance skills.
The Seawolves have swapped out their front row to the reserves with Huluholo Moungaloa gaining his first start with the club at loosehead prop, Obert Nortje at hooker, and Tim Metcher at tighthead prop. Les Soloai returns at lock, Samu Manoa will play his first match since 2019 at blindside flanker, while Tommy Hunkin-Clark makes his MLR starting debut at openside flanker.
Backs changes include former Eagles centers Shalom Suniula and Seta Tuilevuka, with Ross Neal, Siti Tamaivena, and Mat Turner shifting to left-wing, right-wing, and fullback, respectively.
Bench changes include the possibility of three new Seawolves caps. Jacob Flores and Ronald Dwyer joined the team from Seattle Rugby Club. Flores has many test caps for Guam in the back row, while Dwyer is a scrumhalf. Conor McGill provides cover at lock.
The Seawolves have had a number of injuries this season, and are disappointed with their 1-3 record. The message seems to be loud and clear that everyone needs to contribute while they are on the field. The team is completing its fifth away trip to begin the season with their home 2021 debut against Rugby United New York next Sunday.
Squads with Player Article Links
Austin Gilgronis: 1 Jamie Mackintosh 2 Robbie Coetzee 3 Mason Pedersen 4 Isaac Ross 5 Cam Dodson 6 Dom Bailey 7 Maclean Jones 8 Michael de Waal 9 Marcelo Torrealba 10 Mack Mason 11 Conner Mooneyham 12 Ned Hodson 13 Bryce Campbell (C) 14 Frank Halai 15 Will Magie 16 Mason Koch 17 Jake Turnbull 18 LaRome White 19 Christian Ostberg 20 Dom Akina 21 Pele Cowley 22 Kurt Morath 23 Zinzan Elan-Puttick
Seattle Seawolves: 1 Huluholo Moungaloa 2 Obert Nortjé 3 Tim Metcher 4 Les Soloai 5 FP Pelser 6 Samu Manoa 7 Tommy Hunkin-Clark 8 Riekert Hattingh (c) 9 Devereaux Ferris 10 Kieran Joyce 11 Ross Neal 12 Shalom Suniula 13 Setareki Tuilevuka 14 Sitiveni Tamaivena 15 Mat Turner 16 Mike Shepherd 17 Djustice Sears-Duru 18 Jake Ilnicki 19 Jacob Flores 20 Conor McGill 21 Ronald Dwyer 22 Juan Pablo Aguirre 23 Aaron Matthews
DJCoil Rugby articles by Doug Coil are also available on Facebook. Other Social Media sites to follow or subscribe to include Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube for interviews.