MLR, the USA’s new professional Rugby competition, is about to enter into its third season, kicking off on 9th February, with three new expansion teams.
I have personally adopted the Utah Warriors team, whose Head Coach was recently announced as former Wallaby great, Chris Latham – I always think it is best to adopt one team to put the competition into focus.
In the same way I have adopted London Irish (the Exiles – the battlers) in the Gallagher Cup, with 8 Aussies, (Adam Coleman, Saia Faingaa, Curtis Rona, Nick Phipps, Ben Meehan, Sekope Kepu, Ollie Hoskins (Western Force) and Dave Porecki (Waratahs and Saracens) in their lineup.
The Utah Warriors play at Zions Bank Stadium in Herriman, Utah, which has a seating capacity of 5,000. The adjacent training facility includes two full-sized indoor turf fields. The Warriors share the venue with Real Monarchs, a USL (Soccer) Championship team affiliated with Real Salt Lake.
The playing roster includes – 17 from USA, 4 from SA, 3 Tongans, 3 Kiwis, 2 Fijians, 1 each from Zimbabwe, Samoa, Germany, Canada and one Aussie - Richard Stanford, a flanker/ lock who has previously represented the Brumbies, Force and the Waratahs, making his senior debut in 2006 for the Brumbies. Born in Wellington, NSW, he has also represented Easts in the Shute Shield and Melbourne Rebels and NSW Country Eagles in the NRC.
The league has seen steady growth since its inaugural season last year, expanding from seven teams and 31 matches in season one to nine teams and 75 matches in season two, 2019, and will add three teams and expand its regular season to 96 matches when it kicks off its third season on 9th February..
The New England Free Jacks, Old Glory DC, in Washington D.C., and Atlanta’s Rugby ATL are set to join, bringing the total number of teams to 12.
The teams will be divided into two conferences this year — a Western Conference comprised of Austin, Houston, Glendale, San Diego, Seattle and Utah and an Eastern Conference featuring Atlanta, New England, Washington D.C., New Orleans, New York and Toronto.
A final will be played between the best team from each conference on June 28, 2020.
As always, you can check out all the major fixtures all around the world, at Our Rugby Calendar
We will try to find out whether or not these games can be seen in Oz. Watch this space!