San Diego Legion pushed undefeated league-leaders, Glendale Raptors, all the way to the final whistle in a thrilling 27-31 defeat in Glendale, Colorado. The Mother’s Day crowd at Glendale‘s Infinity Park witnessed one of the tightest matches of the Major League Rugby season and were treated to a display of both offensive and defensive moments of brilliance. San Diego Legion stuttered as they came out of the gate, and we quickly turned the match around thanks to a 15th minute pick-and-drive from prop forward Sione Tu’ihalamaka, who single-handedly broke through the Raptors defense for the opening try. Glendale fought back towards the middle of the first half and regained a three point lead with 15 minutes remaining in the half, and a strong final 10 minutes from San Diego Legion put them in the driver’s seat with the match’s momentum. Just before the half time whistle, San Diego hooker Pat Blair utilized a signature San Diego unstoppable driving line-out maul to propel himself over the try line for the second San Diego Legion try of the match. At half time, San Diego walked into the dressing rooms with a 14-10 lead as the Glendale crowd sat stunned.
The San Diego Legion picked up in the second half exactly where it had finished in the first: with all the momentum. Just six minutes into the half, San Diego’s loosehead prop Dolph Botha scored on yet another driving line-out maul, stretching the match to a 21–10 lead. However, the Raptors refused to stand idle and methodically clawed their way back. Despite the best efforts of Legion fullback Dylan Audsley to keep San Diego’s hopes alive from the kicking tee, Glendale secured and retained a lead that they refused to give up, even in the face of relentless San Diego attack and pressure. The Legion fought valiantly to the bitter end, coming up just inches short of securing their second straight comeback victory.
Many San Diego Legion players contributed to what was a strong performance on the road, and it was the perfect record of Dylan Audsley from the tee and power of the San Diego forward pack that helped the team pick up a losing bonus point to remain in third place in the MLR standings.
San Diego Legion will have a ‘bye week’ next weekend, and returns to action on Friday, May 25 as we travel to Austin, TX and take on the Austin Elite.