The 33-24 win gave the Legion 4 points and a bonus point for scoring 4 tries or more.
“They were fantastic to get off to a winning start there and get the bonus points, so you get 5 points,” said Legion head coach Rob Hoadley. “Obviously, there were lapses. The last 20 [minutes] was very poor.”
After taking a 33-10 lead midway through the second half, the Legion saw the Seawolves score 14 points before an announced crowd of 2,500.
“We shot ourselves in the foot a bit,” Hoadley said. “Overall we’ve got to be very happy with the result.”
He called his team’s biggest strength “obviously the lineout drive, [which] was very good. We scored two tries there. I thought we played the field position in territory really well in the first half.”
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Two San Diego tries were scored by Dean Muir in the first half, with JP du Plessis adding a first-half try and a 19-10 lead at halftime.
Save Totovosau scored a San Diego’s try in the 42nd minute, followed 12 minutes later by one by Jasa Veremalua. But the Seawolves’ Vili Toluta’u and George Barton added tries in the 59th and 68th minute, with several dozen enthusiastic fans from Seattle cheering loudly.
“When we stuck to our basics, we went very well,” Hoadley said. “And when we conceded penalties, we hurt ourselves. So I think everything’s in our control.”
In turning back their Western Conference rival, San Diego avenged its loss last June, when the Legion was stunned 26-23 late in the title game at the University of San Diego stadium.
New Legion player Ma’a Nonu, the 37-year-old New Zealand legend, didn’t add points in his first MLR outing — but scored big with fans, who surrounded him after the game for selfies and autographs.
“We couldn’t do better than get 5 points,” Hoadley said Sunday. “Yeah, it’s a perfect start from that respect. But performance-wise, there’s a lot we can do to improve going into next week.”
Next Sunday’s challenge is Colorado at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas. (The Raptors beat Houston 21-12 in their opener.)
The next home game is Feb. 23 against the New England Free Jacks, an expansion team that lost its opener 34-14 to New York. (The other new teams are Old Glory DC in Washington and Rugby ATL in Atlanta, bringing the league to a dozen teams.)
“Professional rugby is here to stay in North America,” league Commissioner Dean Howes said last year in announcing expansion to a 96-match regular season.
“MLR is the first time the North American sports model has been applied to the global game of rugby,” he said. “That model is now laying the foundations for the long-term success of this league and the sport.”
San Diego Legion Gives Licking to 2-Time Major League Rugby Champs Seattle was last modified: February 10th, 2020 by Ken Stone
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