Welcome to the Major League Rugby Grab Bag where I highlight some of the best things I’ve seen from around the league every week.

Round 11 of Major League Rugby consisted of a little bit of everything.

There were upsets, there were nailbiters, and there were blowouts.

That’s what I’ve enjoyed about this competition since it’s been around. Every week is unpredictable, and that’s been the case since the league was created.

Back at the midway point of the season, I wrote about how the fact that nearly every team still had a shot at the playoffs and how that makes the season more interesting for the fans. When there is something to play for, it is easier for a fan to become emotionally invested.

When anything can happen week in and week out, people are more likely to tune in. It’s no fun to flip on The Rugby Network every week and know the results before the matches even happen.

That’s why it was great to see Old Glory D.C. knock off the Utah Warriors to pick up their first win of the season on Friday night. It’s fun to see last year’s defending champions pushed to their limits against a Houston SaberCats team that already beat them once this season.

The unpredictability of sports is what makes them great, and it’s one of the best things about Major League Rugby thus far.

It’s part of the reason I tune in every week and why I’ll continue to do so.

Now let’s get into the Grab Bag!

Did I miss anything? Let me know on Twitter @DNVR Rugby.

And Then There Was One

Coaches across the sporting landscape always talk about how important it is to pick up the first win of the season, and how hard that is to do. Winning is a habit, and when losses start to snowball it becomes harder and harder to break the streak once it’s in motion.

Old Glory D.C. finally got the monkey off their back when they defeated the Utah Warriors 22-21 on Friday night.

Look at what the win meant to them:

That leaves the Dallas Jackals as the only winless team in Major League Rugby. They’ll have six more opportunities to pick up that elusive first victory or they will join the 2019 Austin Elite as the only teams to go winless throughout an entire MLR season.

They’ve been close! They’ve been on the wrong end of some big results, but they’ve dropped a handful of close ones too. They fell to the San Diego Legion by eight, the Houston SaberCats by five, and the NOLA Gold by six. The last three weeks haven’t gone as planned – the Jackals have been outscored 135-16 – but they’ve also been dealing with a significant portion of their team working their way back from injuries from a freak accident.

I’m pulling for the Jackals, and as long as they aren’t playing your team I bet you are too.

The Tallest Wing

Shawn Clark of the Dallas Jackals left his usual spot in the second row and started at the wing last Saturday.

He has to be the tallest wing in modern professional rugby history, right?

Clark is new to rugby. He’d never even touched a rugby ball before January 2021 when the Colorado XOs – now the American Raptors – signed him from The Spring League in November 2020. The former tight end had a workout with the Indianapolis Colts before he gave rugby a try.

He’s a rising star. The Los Angeles Giltinis signed him to a trial period in May 2021. He’s already on Mike Friday’s radar after playing with the USA U23s at the 2021 RugbyTown Sevens and attending the USA Rugby Sevens National Team High Performance camp this past March. To top it off, he accomplished all of that with a banged-up shoulder. Now he’s healthy and will only continue to improve.

Try of the Week

There were so many options for the Round 11 Try of the Week so I just picked my favorites.

Did I miss anything? Let me know on Twitter @DNVR Rugby.

Colton Strickler
Author

Colton Strickler is a Colorado guy through and through. He is a Wheat Ridge Farmer and a Colorado State Ram. He has been involved in the Colorado rugby community in some capacity since 2011. He was Major League Rugby's lead writer in 2018 and 2019 before joining DNVR Rugby.

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