Toronto booked a spot in the Major League Rugby semifinals with a tight 22-20 defeat of Rugby United New York in Canada over the weekend.
The Toronto Arrows used a drop goal in the match’s final minutes to defeat Rugby United New York 22-20 and punch their ticket to the MLR Championship Series in their first season.
Sunday’s win over RUNY (11-5) was the seventh-straight victory for an Arrows (11-5) team that played their final eight matches at home. With their back against the wall, Toronto got a boost from their fly-half, Sam Malcolm, when he nailed a drop goal in the 76th minute of the match. The Arrows hung on for the final few minutes to earn their trip to the semifinals.
The Arrows picked up five points in the victory to move into third place with 57 points heading into the semifinals. RUNY picked up a bonus point in the loss to give them 54 points on the season. Despite dropping the match to the Arrows, RUNY also earned a trip to the playoffs with the NOLA Gold’s 22-10 Week 19 loss to the San Diego Legion. RUNY will head into the MLR Championship Series as the fourth seed.
The Seattle Seawolves finished off the season 11-4-1 after a bit of a weird finale in Tukwila, WA. The Seawolves looked completely in control over visiting and winless Austin. But the Elite, who underwent a major front office chance these last couple of weeks, showed some fight and ran in four tries. 38-26 Seattle, but Austin finished the season with something to point to.
Seattle lock Brad Tucker was MLR PLayer of the Week for his defense and his hard work in the breakdowns. He had 14 carries for 108 meters, and made 21 tackles.
The Houston SaberCats also ended on a high note, also after some changes at the top. Houston ends the season 6-10, but beating Utah 31-27 on the road, just a few days after beating Glendale at home, was a nice way to end it. Add in the win over Austin last week and you have three victories in the final eight days.
San Diego defeated NOLA Gold at home 22-10 in a game that clinched 1st for the Legion, and eliminated New Orleans. Two new teams then, RUNY and Toronto, make the playoffs in their inaugural seasons.
MLR’s First XV of Week 19:
Loosehead Prop (No. 1), Rob Brouwer, Toronto Arrows
Hooker (No. 2), Andrew Quattrin, Toronto Arrows
Tighthead Prop (No. 3), Paddy Ryan, San Diego Legion
Lock (No. 4), Nikola Bursic, New Orleans Gold
Lock (No. 5), Brad Tucker, Seattle Seawolves
Blindside Flanker (No. 6), Jasa Veremalua, San Diego Legion
Openside Flanker (No. 7), Matt Hughston, Rugby United New York
No. 8, Luke Campbell, Toronto Arrows
Scrum-half (No. 9), Mike Petri, Rugby United New York
Fly-half (No. 10), Sam Malcolm, Toronto Arrows
Wing (No. 11), Jeff Hassler, Seattle Seawolves
Inside Center (No. 12), JP du Plessis, San Diego Legion
Outside Center (No. 13), Tristan Blewett, New Orleans Gold
Wing (No. 14), Dan Moor, Toronto Arrows
Fullback (No. 15), Osea Kolinisau, Houston SaberCats
June 8: RUNY at San Diego
June 9: Toronto at Seattle