King of the North: Week 4
Well, week 4 of the 2021 Major League Rugby season was absolutely wild. It’s amazing that in the first year where you can bet on MLR games all logical methods of picking the winners have been thrown out the window. Coolbet must be loving this new sponsorship as they have to be rolling in money like Scrooge McDuck from the MLR bets. If anyone is above .500 in their picks right now, you are either clairvoyant or cheating.
The only sure bet seems to be the LA Giltinis who are off to a 3-0-0 start and sit on top of the table. They have outscored their opponents 142-69 during their first three matches in the league and appear to show no signs of slowing down. Of course, it is no surprise that the Canadians on LA are doing well during this run and become the first team to have two players crowned King of the North.
Lock Corey Thomas earned his first MLR start on the weekend as the Giltinis defeated the Toronto Arrows 43-16 (apologies for not having an article about the game. Unfortunately, life just happens sometimes). Thomas was a major factor in the Giltinis’ success early on in the match. He picked up the match’s opening try which gave LA their first lead of the game.
Following a lineout, the Giltinis’ forwards banged away at the Arrows’ try line defense. Mahe Vailanu passed the ball to Thomas who crashed through the Arrows’ line with some assistance from Charlie Abel in support.
Throughout the opening half, Thomas made his presence felt all across the pitch. He demonstrated a great work rate and was terrific with ball in hand. Thomas had a couple of linebreaks that were instrumental in gaining the Giltinis plenty of territory. Thomas added few lineout takes and a 100% tackle completion rate. Unfortunately, his stellar performance was cut short, as he left the game due to injury after one of the previously mentioned linebreaks.
Despite only playing 39 minutes, Thomas was awarded Man of the Match and the accolades continue to pile up as he is crowned King of the North for week 4. An honourable mention goes out to Quinn Ngawati who scored his first career MLR try and made 100% of his tackles in Rugby United New York’s victory over Rugby ATL. A seconded honourable mention goes to Lucas Rumball.
To be perfectly honest, I was THIS close to awarding the King of the North to Rumball once again. Rumball continued to add to his absolutely ludicrous lead in the breakdown steals category (now triple the second-place total), made a ton of tackles and had a huge work rate.
Rumball is the best openside flanker in the league right now and arguably the best player for the first four weeks. I’m sure he will get more chances to earn more crowns. Who knows, perhaps before the season ends, I will just rename this column the Lucas Rumball Fan Club Weekly Newsletter.
As always, the video of every Canadian try scored during the week. Canadians have now tallied 13 tries so far this season with eleven different try scorers.
King of the North 2021: