The Raptors have enjoyed two weeks of rest and preparation before this weekend’s match, traveling to Louisiana to take on New Orleans Gold June 3 at 2pm Mountain Time. Glendale handily bested the NOLA side when the two teams faced off in the preseason, but both squads have matured since early March, and the competition should be stiff. Ranked fifth in league standings, NOLA is 2-3 on the season.
Back-to-back bye weeks for the Raptors have seen a shifting league landscape, and the Glendale side has slipped to second in the standings. Hot on the heels of victories over Utah and New Orleans, the Seattle Seawolves are now the top ranked team in Major League Rugby, though the Raptors remain the only undefeated squad. A win over Houston has elevated the Utah Warriors into third position in league standings. Entering week 7, the playoff picture should begin to emerge after this weekend’s matches.
Fielding a full side on Saturday should be no trouble for Raptors Head Coach David Williams, who expects to have a roster not hampered by injury or suspension for the first time since week one. Their suspensions completed, the Raptors will look forward to the return of back row Connor Cook and lock Ben Landry in the New Orleans match. Asked about the players’ return, Raptors Head Coach David Williams is understandably pleased: “It’s always good to get players back from suspension and that will add to the competition in the squad. The boys will be primed to head into the second half of the season.”
With an unblemished record going into Saturday’s match Glendale has a lot on the line. New Orleans, a team that appeared arguably unsure of itself early in the season, has demonstrated over the last two weeks that it still can’t be discounted as a playoff contender. Asked about preparation during the long break, Williams said that his side worked primarily on fundamentals: “We went back to basics in our preparation, allowing some players to get rehab on injuries so that we have a full squad available for selection against NOLA.”
Celebrating their success in the inaugural MLR season, the Raptors have partnered with local restaurants and businesses to promote the team’s final two home matches. Facing the Houston Sabercats on June 8, and the Seattle Seawolves on June 16, fans are invited to present Raptors tickets at a number of local restaurants (before or after the game) to receive special offers or discounts. The promotion also challenges Glendale businesses to a group ticket sales competition. Purchasers of 20 tickets or more will not only receive 20% off face value, but the business that purchases the most tickets will be awarded a catered lunch, hand delivered by the professional Raptors team.