San Diego Legion Overpower Seattle Seawolves 32-10 for a Spot in the Championship Final

Written by Joe Harvey

With today’s 32–10 victory over the Seattle Seawolves, the San Diego Legion secure a spot in the Major League Rugby Championship Final.

They will face the New England Free Jacks at SeatGeek Stadium on Saturday July 8.

A second-half Tomas Aoake brace and a timeless performance from All Blacks legend Ma’a Nonu helped land Danny Lee’s team a shot at the MLR Shield next weekend.

MLR Correspondent Joe Harvey watched as the action unfolded in a thrilling Conference Final.


While San Diego arrived into the Western Conference Final as favorites, those credentials were put to the test in the opening 10 minutes.

Repelled repeatedly as the Southern Californians camped themselves deep inside Seattle’s half, it took the experience of Ma’a Nonu to ignite the Legion’s victory.

At 41 years young, Nonu would knock over a drop goal to set the wheels in motion and continued to show his wiliness with a 50/22 moments after the restart.

Following the hydration break Will Hooley would double the Legion lead with a penalty, the fly-half making the kick from ease in front of the posts.

From the resulting restart, San Diego had an extra spring in their step. Faka’osi Pifeleti launched the attack which would result in the loosehead prop scoring the game’s opening try.

Making some 50 meters with the ball-in-hand, Legion switched the play to the opposite sideline, a hard carry by Tevita Tameilau the final act before Pifeleti crossed the whitewash.

As the first half drew to a close, Jordan Chait put the Seawolves on the scoreboard with a penalty of his own and setting the final 40 up for a grandstand finish.

Clearly emboldened by their positive end to the first half, Allen Clarke’s Seattle would wrestle momentum to be in their favor.

Samu Manoa would cross the try line during this period, although the score was disallowed for a knock-on by the hulking lock in the act of scoring.

Seattle’s inability to score would haunt the side in the end. 

Tomas Aoake would benefit from the elusive running of Marcel Brache, the center stepping his way into space before offloading to Michael Smith, the Canada international dragging in defenders before passing to his wing in space to score.

Brache was in the thick of the action again just moments later. This time the 35-year-old was the try scorer, the back latching onto a hack through by hooker Shilo Klein who reacted quickly to the loose ball falling to his feet.

There was a brief glimmer of hope for the Seawolves as Ben Landry dotted down seconds after Nate Sylvia was shown a yellow card for straying offside, but it was an optimism which quickly vanished.

San Diego scored directly from the kick-off, Mike Te’o’s high restart evading the Seawolves defensive pod and Jeremiah Sio in the backfield, Aoake catching the ball and scoring unopposed.

Soon enough the Legion were restored to their full compliment. As time ticked away, the healthy Snapdragon Stadium crowd celebrated in unison as Hooley fired the ball in the stands, with all donning red and black knowing that glory awaits.

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