King Of The North: Week 8
What an absolutely wild week of MLR action! All six matches were decided by less than 6 points and came down to the 80th minute. The combined margin of victory was a mere 19 total points. The Giltinis typically put that up in the opening 10 minutes! However, that all changed this week too as Quinn Ngawati and Rugby United New York handed the Giltinis their first loss in MLR. The RUNY defense shined in a 18-16 victory.
One undefeated streak is still intact though. The New England Free Jacks defeated the surging Austin Gilgronis 22-18 to remain unbeaten at home (it’s 2-0, but that still counts).
It is from that match that we crown our King of the North this week! Before you get too excited, no it is not Woodgy. The King of the North is not quite 9 feet, 1000 pounds, with a 9.97s 100m time, but he is still an imposing figure. Free Jacks captain Josh Larsen led by example in his club’s victory over Austin. Larsen’s tackling technique was flawless as he led the game in tackles at a perfect rate. He demonstrated a massive work rate throughout the match.
Larsen was a prominent figure at the breakdown, once again being the match leader in ruck arrivals. The biggest ruck was perhaps on the final play of the game where Larsen helped to secure the ball after a great steal by Wian Conradie.
Larsen provided the Free Jacks with a steady pair of hands in the lineout as their primary target. Larsen had the lineout take that set up the maul on Conradie’s 58th minute try to bring the Free Jacks within 1 on their epic second half comeback.
The Free Jacks found themselves down 18-5 at the 50-minute mark. The massive second half surge was no doubt fueled by an excited New England crowd. As captain, Larsen was able to rally the troops and took charge of the physicality as he helped lead New England to an epic come from behind victory. For that, Josh Larsen is the week 8 King of the North!
Honourable mentions go out to Quinn Ngawati for a solid performance in RUNY’s win over LA. DTH van der Merwe continues to give defenses nightmares as he continues his torrid try scoring pace. Matt Heaton and Lucas Rumball had quite the duel as the two star Canadian openside flankers went head-to-head in the Fire and Ice Cup.
San Diego’s Michael Smith earned his first MLR start and put in a full 80-minute shift in the Legion’s 21-15 loss to Seattle. Finally, Old Glory’s Doug Fraser picked up his first try of 2021 in his return to the lineup this weekend.
This edition of the Canadian tries of the week features another charged down try from Mike Sheppard, which is becoming a niche specialty of his. As always, you can watch every try scored by a Canadian this week in the video below.
King of the North 2021:
Week 1- DTH van der Merwe (LA) Week 2- Fraser Hurst (UTAH) Week 3- Lucas Rumball (TOR) Week 4- Corey Thomas (LA) Week 5- Ross Braude (TOR) Week 6- Ben LeSage (TOR) Week 7- Lachlan Kratz (NOLA) Week 8- Josh Larsen (NEFJ)