Major League Rugby: San Diego Legion v Utah Warriors: Game 3, Week 2 Review

by Sports Benches

The forward pack has a lot to offer where they drove the maul well after the line out before attacking the Warriors defense past the try line.

Excellent work from Sione Tu’ihalamaka with San Diego Legion to kick-start the scoreboard.

Fly-Half Tadhg Leader adds the extra two points to extend the Legion lead by seven points.

SCORE: San Diego Legion 7-0 Utah Warriors

Legion started that big drive forward through the scrum as the Warriors didn’t stay stable therefore they won the line-out penalty.

The forward pack drove the maul pushed as hard as they can, and then Legion stumped the 2nd try in nine minutes.

Tony Purpura gets the credit for that breakdown where he became the catalyst for the Legion’s excellent start of the match.

SCORE: San Diego Legion 12-0 Warriors

Cam Dolan is doing a fantastic job at the Number 8 position where he worked hard to bring out turnovers and help add steel in the defense.

That created the Utah Warriors attack a hard time to get past their territory.

The Warriors won that line out, but there are still some areas to make their set-piece perfect.

Utah Warriors have lost 12 points so far this match.

They’ve got a more robust attack.

But just a bit more accurate towards the line-outs and then you can complete the job past the try line.

What a try from Devin Short which is a good relief from the Utah Warriors!

They’ve picked it up and drive where they created phases into pushing forward with the ruck before Joseph Nicholls took that reward by going past the try line.

Kurt Morath successfully kicked over the posts for the two points.

SCORE: San Diego Legion 12-7 Utah Warriors

San Diego Legion survived a significant threat from the Warriors attack where they added pressure in winning the scrum by creating that knock on from the opposition.

The Scrummaging isn’t accurate from the Legion, so that means the Warriors have an opportunity to fight back for a second try.

It’s too easy from the vice-captain of Saia ‘Uhila as the Warriors drove the scrum forward.

Saia ‘Uhila had the ball on his hands with the scrum before running away with the confidence to complete past the Legion goal line.

SCORE: San Diego Legion 12-14 Utah Warriors

What a try from Devin Short as San Diego Legion leads the Utah Warriors by three points at the break.

They’ve built so many phases towards the dying seconds of the first half and look at that flick pass from Dylan Audsley.

That gave Devin Short the chance to apply pressure to the Warriors defense before he found the try line past their territory.

If you don’t know Devin Short, he’s 19 years old from Las Vegas, Nevada where he plays at Blindside Flanker in the No.7 shirt.

That’s another USA Rugby prospect to watch right there.

HALF-TIME: San Diego Legion 17-14 Utah Warriors

Utah Warriors won the turnover as they take the line-out throw through the penalty after Legion collapsed the scrum.

Good to see them play on with the ball by cutting into the attack.

But they need to improve on with the communication a bit more as they’ve knocked on Josh Anderson’s hand.

On the other hand, stout defense from the San Diego Legion guys where they made clean breaks as well as adding the pressure towards the opposition by forcing them to drop the ball.

Warriors drove forward with the scrum, and that’s where Legion couldn’t maintain it straight & square.

What a TRY from Anthony Salaber!!

Credit to JP Du Plessis for tapping the ball on before giving Salaber the license to thrill down the line of the field.

Hence he came down comfortably past the Warriors goal line for the Legion try.

If you don’t know Anthony Salaber, he plays at Outside Centre for Legion in Major League Rugby.

He’s also a student at UC Berkeley has played for Cal Rugby in the Varsity Cup.

Plus he’s a graduate of Dixon High a few years ago over in Holly Ridge, North Carolina.

Tadhg Leader successfully converted the two extra points past inside the posts.

SCORE: San Diego Legion 24-14 Utah Warriors

What a brilliant defense once again from the Legion guys.

Bravo to JP Du Plessis on being the catalyst of collapsing the Warriors maul and winning the scrum.

Once again, Utah Warriors made an illegal scrummaging during that time, so they conceded another penalty.

On the other hand, Fly-Half Tadhg Leader unsuccessfully gone inside the goal posts.

The score remains 24-14 with San Diego Legion leading the way ahead of the Utah Warriors.

The No.10 of Tadhg Leader didn’t roll away which is an ill-discipline move from San Diego Legion.

A short time later, Kurt Morath successfully took a penalty conversion past inside the goal posts for the three points.

SCORE: San Diego Legion 24-17 Warriors

What a try from Ryan Matyas!

That’s a beautiful kick with a perfect position from Leader before Matyas had the full tilt from the air and touched down on the left wing for another classic Legion score!

High kick from Full-Back Dylan Audsley for the conversion with the two more points.

SCORE: San Diego Legion 31-17 Warriors

Joseph Nicholls successfully made a pickup and drove after the scrum.

Nicholls then seizes the gap before he reaches the ball against the base of the pole which is a legal thing that a referee will accept it as a try.

Kurt Morath again kicked successfully between the sticks.

The Utah Warriors only need a converted try to shock Legion a considerable upset on their home turf.

SCORE: San Diego Legion 31-24 Utah Warriors

It’s the 80th minute, and the game isn’t over yet.

The Utah Warriors have some numbers here to protect the ball and maintain possession.

Counter ruck comes in before the ball comes forward which means San Diego Legion won their first game at home.

FULL-TIME: San Diego Legion 31-24 Utah Warriors

San Diego Legion

  • Tries: Sione Tu’ihalamaka (2′), Tony Purpura (10′), Devin Short (40 +5′), Anthony Salabar (56′) and Ryan Matyas (71′), One each.
  • Conversions: Tadhg Leader (2/2 attempts) and Dylan Audsley (1/1 effort).

Utah Warriors

  • Tries: Joseph Nicholls ( 27′, 76′ ), and Saia ‘Uhila (37’)
  • Conversions: Kurt Morath (2/3 attempts).
  • Penalties: Kurt Morath, One conversion


Congratulations to Anthony Salaber for the man of the match!

JP Du Plessis tapped the ball and played on and then fed that offload to Salaber who ran with power before meeting the try line.

The home team also created significant opportunities through the scrum and maul where Legion can balance out both the attack and defense together which is why they scored five tries.

That’s one the highlights that San Diego Legion experienced throughout the match today.

What the Utah Warriors need to do next time

On the other hand, it’s unlucky to see Utah Warriors lose today.

What they need to do next time is build up more discipline with the set pieces towards the defense.

That way they’re more likely to protect themselves from a few try saving tackles & build a wall to pressurize the opposition.

It’s the area where the Warriors didn’t create enough.

The attack is useful especially when Joseph Nicholls took two tries of the match.

But the Warriors need an overall performance to fight one with a win next week.

Week 3, May 3-5 Matches

  • NOLA Gold at Austin Elite Rugby, 9 PM ET Thursday, May 3 LIVE on AT&T SportsNet SouthWest and ESPN +
  • Houston SaberCats at San Diego Legion, 8 PM ET Friday, May 4 LIVE on the CBS Sports Network
  • Glendale Raptors at Utah Warriors, 3.30 PM ET Saturday, May 5 LIVE on AT&T SportsNet Rocky Mountain and ESPN +

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