Professional Rugby is Here: Glendale Raptors Host Austin Elite Rugby in MLR Home Opener

#GRRvsAER – April 21, 2018

Professional rugby will see its American debut this Saturday, April 21 at 3pm Mountain Time, when the Glendale Raptors host Austin Elite Rugby to kick off the inaugural season of Major League Rugby. Established more than a decade ago, the Raptors’ history gives the team some advantage entering the professional season. With experienced coaches and staff, and a combination of veterans and young players, the Raptors are the team to beat in MLR: an unblemished preseason record speaks volumes to the squad’s preparedness. The Raptors home opener will be broadcast on CBS Sports Network as the MLR game of the week.

Glendale Head Coach David Williams explains the team’s preparation: “We have prepared well for the challenges we’ll see this season. We’ve become more resilient during a long but successful preseason, but real tests are the in-season games. We want to start strong, show our confidence in the first game in front of our home crowd.” Defeating New Orleans Gold and the Utah Warriors in the preseason, as well as a victory against New York Athletic Club in a friendly match, the Raptors have demonstrated they can perform at home and on the road. Austin has had an up and down preseason, so Williams anticipates they will be gunning for the Raptors on Saturday.

In no uncertain terms, Raptors Assistant Coach Ted Browner says the team is looking to continue its preseason success, but that the competition will be stiff: “We’re always looking for improvement. Every week. This is the toughest competition we’ve faced, as it’s our first in-season game. Austin will bring a tough side with lots of experience. We’ve got to stick to our plan and our processes.”

The Raptors second game of the regular season will see the team on the road, traveling to Seattle to take on the Seawolves on April 28 at 8:30pm Mountain Time. The match will be broadcast on CBS Sports Network. Throughout the inaugural MLR season, CBSSN will broadcast the game of the week, with AT&T Sports, Cox Communications and ESPN+ broadcasting non-game of the week matches.