King Of The North: Week 1
Major League Rugby has returned and the first weekend is in the books! The 2021 season will feature more Canadians than ever before. Therefore, here at Layman’s Sports, we have decided to honour the top Canadian performance across the league in a new column called King of the North! The King of the North will be crowned following each week of MLR action!
The criteria will be constantly evolving. It could be a record try performance, an inhuman work rate, leading a massive defensive stand, or a clutch play at the biggest moment of the game. What earns the title of King of the North in one week, may not earn it the next! Let’s hand out the first crown.
The Los Angeles Giltinis earned their first win in franchise history by defeating the New England Free Jacks 42-27 at the famed LA Coliseum! The star-studded lineup did not disappoint and brought some Hollywood flair the league. Front and centre of the Giltinis big premier night in the MLR was Canada’s all-time leading try scorer DTH van der Merwe.
Van der Merwe got off to a flying start! Matt Giteau found van der Merwe with a pop pass inside and he dotted down the first try in Giltinis’ history less than five minutes into the contest. Van der Merwe wasn’t done there though. LA’s backline proved to live up to the billing as they quickly created a huge overlap off the set piece. Glenn Bryce hit Van der Merwe with the final pass and he finished off his 2nd try in the game’s opening ten minutes. Van der Merwe would later add a try assist and finish the game with 96m carried.
Van der Merwe now joins Brock Staller, John Moonlight, Matt Heaton, and Doug Fraser as Canadians who have scored the first try for a MLR franchise! For that he earns the first ever Layman’s Sports King of the North!
Honourable mentions to Toronto’s Lucas Rumball and Austin’s Moe Abdelmonem who were absolute monsters. Unfortunately, they both found themselves on the wrong side of the scoreboard. Also of note, Arrows’ hooker Jack McRogers scored his first career MLR try in the opening moments of their match with Rugby ATL. You can check out every try scored by a Canadian in week 1 in the video below!