Scoring was on full display for the second week in a row across Major League Rugby as Round 2 wrapped up on Sunday evening.
While the points came in droves, the results were much different than opening weekend. Four of the six matches in Round 1 were decided by seven points or less. That was not the case in Round 2, with only two matches – Old Glory D.C.’s 30-23 victory over Rugby ATL and San Diego Legion’s 14-11 last-minute victory over the Austin Gilgronis – fitting that description.
Rugby United New York and NOLA Gold got the weekend started with a match at the Gold Mine in Louisiana. The two 1-0 teams employed different strategies from the jump, and it was NOLA that jumped out to an early 24-7 lead. RUNY battle back to cut the Gold’s lead to 24-21 at the half, but that was the last time the match would be close. NOLA capitalized on RUNY’s strategy to spin the ball out wide by intercepting two passes for tries and cruised to a 51-28 victory to improve to 2-0 on the young season.
At the midway point of the NOLA-RUNY match, Old Glory D.C. and the visitors from Rugby ATL got started at Old GLory’s new home at Segra Field. From the jump, it looked as if Rugby ATL was going to spoil Old Glory’s housewarming party. After a sloppy start for both sides, Atlanta put together a solid first half to take a 16-3 lead into the locker room. Like an old car, Old Glory D.C. needed a few minutes to get warmed up. They came out of halftime on fire and scored 20 unanswered points heading into the final 20-minute frame. Both teams traded converted tries in the final frame, and Old Glory D.C. came away with a 30-23 victory.
With Saturday’s afternoon slate in the books, folks settled in for two evening matches between the New England Free Jacks and the Houston SaberCats down in Texas and the Toronto Arrows and the Utah Warriors in the Rocky Mountains. After Houston’s big victory over the two-time defending champion Seattle Seawolves in Round 1, the SaberCats were ready to put together another strong performance against a Free Jacks team that had a tough outing in Los Angeles. The Free Jacks ran into some of the penalty problems that plagued them the week before. Despite playing with just 13 men after two yellow cards in the first half, New England handed the SaberCats a 32-0 loss and put up the first shutout of the 2021 season.
While New England was taking care of business in Houston, the Arrows and Warriors were underway 1,470 miles northwest at Zions Bank Stadium. After a solid victory over Austin in the first round, Utah used another complete performance to defeat the Arrows 39-24 and hand Toronto their second-consecutive loss.
The final two matches of the weekend took place on Sunday evening when the San Diego Legion and the Austin Gilgronis faced off in Texas and the Seattle Seawolves traveled down to the Los Angeles Coliseum to take on the Los Angeles Giltinis. The Gilgronis did their best to hold off a hungry Legion team, but San Diego used a Carlo de Nysschen try in the final minutes to secure a 14-11 victory.
After two weeks of rugby, the Giltinis look like the best in the league. A 57-26 rout over the defending champs, the Giltinis sit atop the table with a +46 point differential and a +8 try differential. The Seawolves on the other hand are in 11th place after two weeks of rugby. They’ll need to use their early bye week to right the ship and get back to their winning ways while the season is still young.