Submitted photo

Submitted photo

Third time proves charm for Seattle Seawolves, win first ever Major League Rugby championship title

Seattle rallies in second half to clinch coveted win over Glendale in league final

  • Wednesday, July 11, 2018 2:30pm
  • Sports

For The Reporter

The top two teams of the inaugural Major League Rugby season met in the MLR Championship in San Diego, California at Torero Stadium to compete for the America’s Championship Shield.

The last two times Seattle faced off against the Raptors in regular season saw two losses, poising most to favor the Raptors heading into the final. Knowing what adjustments needed to be made against the familiar foe, Seattle was able to play their best rugby to win when it mattered most.

The Raptors kicked off to begin the match but Seattle put the first points on the board with a converted penalty by Pete Smith after a Glendale penalty in striking distance. Another shot at goal arose a few minutes later with another Raptor penalty but Smith missed to the left. The 3-0 lead was soon overtaken by a textbook Glendale try by Zach Fenoglio with a successful driving maul over the try line. Will Maggie’s kick after was successful and Glendale jumped ahead 7-3.

As if déjà vu hit the field, the Seawolves marched down into Raptor territory to match their mauling try with one of their own. Seattle won their line out and began to push Glendale back while Ray Barkwill peeled off the back with the ball to dot down a try. With a wide kick, Smith’s attempt flew true but just wide, bringing the score to 8-7 to Seattle. The first half would close with Seattle narrowly leading over the Raptors.

With a match that could go either way heading into the final 40 minutes of play, Glendale came out ready to use their forward pack to get another forward try over the line after multiple penalties against Seattle in their five meter. Will Maggie uncharacteristically missed the kick as Glendale took over the lead 12-8.

Momentum began to swing towards Seattle with a phases being strung together into Glendale territory. But quick reaction to a Seattle knock on from Shaun Davies saw the ball moved wide to the Raptors back line who flew up field. Bryce Campbell finished off the counter attack efforts under the sticks. With a shot right in front, Maggie converted two more points for Glendale, extending their lead 19-8 with just over 20 minutes remaining in the game.

With their backs up against the wall, Seattle was able to shake off the back to back Raptor tries with a pair of their own. Instead of going for another maul from their line out deep in Glendale’s end of the field, Seattle played the ball off the top as Phil Mack dished the ball to a hard running Vili Toluta’u. The ball was kept alive after Toluta’u was tackled and a big run from Riekert Hattingh gained more meters in Glendale’s midfield. The ball then made itself out to the wing where William Rasileka picked up a loose ball and took off towards the corner to touch down. After Scott Greene reviewed the try, Rasileka’s efforts were rewarded with five as Smith’s kick after was just short from the sideline.

Closing in on Glendale’s lead, 13-19, Seattle was not ready to slow down. A counter attack after an attempted exit kick from Maggie ended up in the hands of multiple Seawolves, playing quick ball that eventually caught the Raptors on their heels as Riekert Hattingh took off into open space and dove into the try zone. With a bit closer of an angle for Smith, the kick was good and the Seawolves regained the lead 20-19 within just a few minutes.

More back and forth play from both sides continued on for the next 5 minutes before Glendale was hit with an offside call just inside the 40-meter line, giving Seattle the chance to further their lead. Seattle opted for points and Smith continued to prove his kicking prowess with a strike that split the uprights to tack on three more with ten minutes left to play.

The final minutes of the match had both sides pushing hard to maintain possession but with a few missed opportunities by Glendale and Seattle’s ability to slow the game down, the game came to a close on a Glendale penalty. Pete Smith quick tapped the ball to then boot it into the stands to end the game as Seattle claimed the title with a 23-19 win.

“Obviously we are extremely proud to have won this under our circumstances”, said Player-Coach Phil Mack after the team’s MLR Championship performance. “Big credit goes to all the front office staff and the Seawolves organization, as well as all the support Seattle has given us from the first match to the final whistle. Bringing back this trophy to Seattle just reinforces the fact that professional rugby belongs in the Pacific Northwest.”

The Seattle Seawolves finish their first season with a record of 8-2 and crowned the first ever Major League Rugby Champions on July 7. Championship apparel and more details regarding a celebration back in the team’s host city to come.

More in Sports

State Qualifiers & Coaches (left to right):Assistant Coach Colton Maddy, Matt Haines (3rd), Dmytro Hayday (3rd), Head Coach Mike Pine, Jeffrey Myers (2nd), Treavor Atkins (2nd), Assistant Coach Deven Maddy. 
                                Photo by Vicki Maddy.
Lindbergh wrestlers qualify for state

Lindbergh High School competed in the Boys 2A Regionals tournament on Sat,… Continue reading

The Lindbergh boys swim team took home the 2A SPSL championship title on Feb. 8, 2020. Photo courtesy of Kayoka Bushaw.
Lindbergh boys swim placed second in championship

The Lindbergh boys swim/dive team competed in the West Central District III… Continue reading

Hazen High School cheer team took third place during the coed competition at the WIAA State Central Cheerleading Tournament on Feb. 7, 2020. Photo courtesy of Brian Kaelin.
Renton, Hazen cheer earn spots at state tournament

Hazen and Renton High School cheer teams earned applause at the WIAA… Continue reading

Renton schools change sports leagues

RSD moves from SPSL to KingCo

Lindbergh High School’s Riley Omonaka prepares for a round against a Renton High School wrestler during Lindbergh’s senior night on Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020. Photo submitted by Vicky Maddy.
Lindbergh girls wrestling takes on Renton

Three of Lindbergh’s female wrestlers competed during the school’s senior night, taking… Continue reading

Courtesy of Rashaad Powell. Renton High School Senior and Boys Basketball player Keandre Young.
Renton boys basketball to be featured on ESPN

All boys from state picked for All American Game from Renton High

Photo courtesy of Omar Parker. Liberty Boys Basketball team brought home a championship trophy at the Rancho Mirage Holiday Invitational in California. The team, part of the “Gear to the Max” division championship game, took the tournament title after winning all four games. The Patriots competed against California teams from the cities of Stevenson, Calipatria, and Rancho Mirage, and a Canyon Springs, Nevada team. Players Tyler Anderson and Josh Chung were named for the all-tournament team and senior captain Jeff Yamada was named tournament MVP. Coach Omar Parker said this was due in large part to his defensive efforts during the games. Before this, the team has also won 10 of its last 11 games, including seven games in a row. Once back from the California tournament, the team went on to win against Lake Washington and Bellevue in tough away games, Parker said.
Liberty basketball takes home championship

Liberty Boys Basketball team brought home a championship trophy at the Rancho… Continue reading

Kentwood serves Hazen basketball another loss

The Hazen High School varsity and junior varsity (JV) basketball teams went… Continue reading

The Hazen High School Boys Swim and Dive team after the Kentridge Invitational on Saturday, Jan. 11. Photo courtesy of Hazen Head Coach Lynn Gerking.
Hazen senior swimmer beats two school records

Hazen Boys Swim and Dive team places 13 overall at Kentridge Invitational

Photos by Yuriy Tsupruk.
Renton High’s win streak ends with Lindbergh win

Renton High School’s boys basketball team ended it’s winning streak when they… Continue reading

Lindbergh wrestling brings home two medals

The Lindbergh High School wrestling team competed among over 20 other schools… Continue reading

Photos by Yuriy Tsupruk.
Golden Gators narrowly defeat Highlanders by 10

The Hazen Highlanders junior varsity basketball team nearly won its game against… Continue reading