Round 10 of Major League Rugby’s 2021 season is officially in the books.
Every team in the competition has seven matches to play, and while the playoff picture is beginning to take shape, the final two months of the season is going to be chaos for well over half of the teams in the league.
The top two teams in the Western Conference kicked off Round 10 a little earlier than usual when the Los Angeles Giltinis and Austin Gilgronis squared off in the inaugural Gil Bowl on Wednesday evening. Not surprisingly, the first-place Giltinis came out victorious in a knock-down-drag-out defensive battle 17-3 over the Gilgronis. A loss in Round 10 wouldn’t have shaken up the standings, but it would’ve helped the Gilgronis close the gap on the Giltinis as the second half of the season begins to ramp up. Instead, the Giltinis took care of business and became the first team in the competition to reach 40 table points in the process. The Giltinis remain in second place in the Western Conference with the loss, but the Utah Warriors are hot on their heels.
The Warriors had the opportunity to slide back into second place in the Western Conference when they traveled down to New Orleans to take on the Gold. After a tightly contested first half, the Gold put together a very strong second-half performance to come away with a 29-24 victory over a Warriors team that has now dropped two straight matches. With the win, the Gold slid up into third place in the Eastern Conference with 29 table points. NOLA will use a bye week in Round 11 to gear up for what’s certain to be an exciting race to the finish line while the Warriors will have a huge opportunity to put an end to their losing streak and make up some ground in the table against the second-place Austin Gilgronis.
While the Warriors and the Gold were squaring off in Louisiana, Old Glory D.C. was in Houston for a bout with the SaberCats. A rainy day in Texas made the conditions tough for this match. Houston took an early 6-0 lead, and once again pulled ahead with just over 30 minutes to play after an Old Glory D.C. turnover turned into a SaberCats try, but Old Glory wasn’t going to be denied. D.C. scored seven points a few minutes after Houston took the lead, and gave themselves some breathing room with a Jason Robertson penalty goal and drop goal as the match carried on to down the SaberCats 21-13. Unfortunately for Houston, the result is not an unfamiliar one for them as they haven’t won a match since April 10. They’ll have a chance to start making up some ground in the table as they take on a San Diego Legion team in Round 11 that’s had their fair share of struggles in 2021, but is coming off a monster win over NOLA Gold and a week of rest. Old Glory D.C. will have a big opportunity to make up some ground in the Eastern Conference as they take on Rugby United New York in Round 11.
The first match of MLR’s Sunday slate featured Rugby United New York and the New England Free Jacks. While New England did their best to claw their way back into the match, RUNY picked up a wire-to-wire 29-19 victory over the Free Jacks to keep them in second place in the Eastern Conference standings with 29 table points. With the loss, New England dropped to sixth place in the Eastern Conference with 21 table points. They’ll have a chance to leapfrog the Toronto Arrows in the standings when the two teams meet in Round 11 while Rugby United New York will face an Old Glory D.C. team that is hungry to climb up the table.
The final match of the weekend featured the last-place Seattle Seawolves against the Eastern Conference-leading Rugby ATL. While the effort was there for the Seawolves, they were no match for an Atlanta team that is working to hang on to the top spot on their side of the table. Atlanta cruised to a 25-6 win over Seattle. The banged-up Seawolves will try to use their bye week in Round 11 to get some players healthy for the remainder of the season while Atlanta gets set for their biggest test of the season when they welcome the first-place Los Angeles Giltinis to town.