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.

It’s about that time.

Round 15 is officially in the books and the playoff picture is a little clearer than it was a week earlier.

In the West, the Austin Gilgronis have officially punched their ticket to the post season while the Utah Warriors ensured that they will be observing this year’s playoff from home with a loss to the Houston SaberCats.

In the East, the New England Free Jacks extended their Major League Rugby record winning streak to 10-straight matches and locked in a playoff spot.

I’m almost positive that there will be a few more twists and turns throughout the final three rounds of the 2022 regular season. There always is.

While the presumed top seeds in both conferences are locked in, the four teams that will occupy the final spots still have three rounds to duke it out and let the chips fall where they may.

It’s going to be fun to watch.

Now let’s get into the Grab Bag!

Seattle’s Tough Weekend

Last week I wrote about Seattle’s record-setting performance against the Dallas Jackals. At that time they were winners of two of their last three, owned the third and final playoff spot in the West, and appeared to be building up some momentum to make a push for their third championship shield.

That momentum evaporated as everything that could’ve gone wrong for them in Round 15, did.

The 31-27 scorelines were not kind to the Seawolves.

Seattle needed the San Diego Legion to drop their match against the L.A. Giltinis, and they didn’t. San Diego beat L.A. 31-27 to take home the Cali Cup.

Seattle needed the Utah Warriors to beat the Houston SaberCats, and that didn’t happen either. Houston hung on to defeat the Warriors 31-27.

Most importantly, they couldn’t take care of their own business as they fell on the road to Rugby New York 30-22.

They find themselves in a tough spot as the season winds down. The action from the weekend saw the Seawolves fall from third place and a playoff spot to fifth place behind the Legion and the SaberCats. That’s going to be tough to climb out of because Houston has a match in hand on both the Seawolves and the Legion. To make the jump back into the playoff spot, the Seawolves are going to need to have two huge weeks and will likely need some help from some other squads.

Everyone should have next weekend’s Seawolves-SaberCats match circled on their calendars.

New York’s Grounds

After Round 5, I wrote about how I actually enjoyed the quirkiness of the venues that Major League Rugby teams have played in since the league’s inception. I enjoy seeing life take place around the pitch, and the location looks awesome.

What needs to be addressed is the pitch itself.

To start, there are way too many lines on this pitch.

The clip above is only a blooper because there are multiple sets of lines on the pitch. When you have 15 players charging at you as you attempt to relieve the pressure your team is under, it’s easy to forget where the in-goal is when there are multiple sets of lines that could also represent the in-goal.

To make matters worse, we’ve got scrums knocking over flimsy sets of goalposts!

I understand that the league is still young so the venues are hard to come by. I also understand that a team in New York really has no choice but to play at a venue like this because the spaces to play rugby are few and far between. That’s why that pitch has so many different lines on it. There aren’t going to be many standalone rugby pitches in New York, just like there aren’t going to be many stand-alone lacrosse fields.

It is the top rugby competition in the United States, and it’s a tough look when the rest of the world sees clips like the ones above.

Rugby New York is doing the best they can, but people still have the right to feel like they could do better and I think both things can be true at the same time.

Hopefully, they can find a better setup for 2023.

Try of the Week

If you didn’t know by now, it’s all about the bounce of the ball. Always.

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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