With a pair of victories on Friday night, the Glendale Raptors and the Seattle Seawolves further separated themselves from the pack of Major League Rugby with two weeks left until the playoffs. The wins secured each club a spot in inaugural playoffs beginning on June 30th.
Both squads endured a fierce fight from the Houston Sabercats and the Austin Elite where each team’s defenses stepped up late to preserve the victories. Next week is the melee for first as the Raptors host Seattle in Glendale, Colo.
Houston at Glendale
Coming off a dominant win in New Orleans last Sunday, the Raptors welcomed the Houston Sabercats to Colorado under the lights of Infinity Park on Friday night. With five of its starters getting capped this weekend with the Eagles, Man of the Match Harley Davidson rattled off a hat trick and Maximo de Achaval totaled 17 points to beat the Sabercats, 37-24.
With a third of its starting lineup with the Eagles, Glendale’s next man-up mentality caused the squad not to miss a beat. “It doesn’t matter who fills that spot,” Davidson said. “We have a lot of depth, we practice against each other, and we know the standard we want to uphold… I don’t think we played to the standard we wanted, but we flushed it, kept trying to work at it, and I was really happy with [the result].”
It didn’t take long for Davidson to back up his words as the wing scored back to back tries in the first 15 minutes of action. Following a yellow card, Glendale added to the lead with a mauled try from Dylan Fawsitt before Houston’s Josua Vici broke the shutout at the horn.
Like the first half, Davidson opened up scoring in the second half and the Sabercats responded through a Matt Trouville try in the 58th minute. The Raptors came right back to extend the lead to 29-12 via a de Achaval converted try which was followed by an opportune drop goal.
In the final quarter, Houston refocused and made Glendale work to preserve the win. Coming off the bench, Alex Elkins scored twice in the final 15 minutes, but a de Achaval penalty in the 69th minute put the game firmly out of reach for the 37-24 victory.