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Legion Look to Level Series In New York

MATCH PREVIEW: LEGION TRAVEL TO THE BIG APPLE FOR CLASH WITH RUNY

BROOKLYN – After a convincing 45-15 victory over Austin Elite Rugby, the San Diego Legion hit the road to take on third-place Rugby United New York on Sunday in what could be their biggest match of the season so far.

The Legion (6-2-1) will have to get through an incredibly tough RUNY (7-1) squad as they fight to climb their way back up the Major League Rugby table and back into one of the four playoff spots.

Sunday’s match will be the second time this season that the Legion and RUNY meet. The first meeting, all the way back on January 27, the Legion’s first match of the season, ended in a 25-23 RUNY victory.

THE TALE OF THE TAPE

The numbers that both the Legion and RUNY have posted this year give a hint as to how evenly-matched these two sides are heading into their second meeting of the season.

RUNY, having conceded 160 points through eight matches, and the Legion, having conceded 170 points through nine matches, head into the Week 12 matchup with the top two defenses in the league. Both clubs are the only two clubs remaining that haven’t conceded at least 200 points on the season.

To complement the defensive numbers, RUNY and the Legion have posted extremely similar offensive numbers in both tries and points as well. The 29 tries that the Legion has scored this season are just two fewer than RUNY’s 31 while the Legion lead the season-long scoring battle with 244 points over RUNY’s 229.

STAR POWER

You don’t have to study Major League Rugby’s player statistics page for very long to recognize the firepower that both RUNY and the Legion will bring to the table on Sunday.

Legion captain and fly-half Joe Pietersen ranks fourth in the MLR in both conversions and penalty goals with 22 and 11, respectively. His 85 points on the season rank him fifth overall in the MLR in scoring.

10 of RUNY’s 31 total tries on the season have come from hooker Dylan Fawsitt and flanker James Denise, who have each scored five tries through eight matches.

The Legion will rely on a pack of dynamic forwards that feature the likes of Paddy Ryan, Psalm Wooching and Jordan Manihera to slow down a RUNY forward pack that has caused their opponents a heap of trouble in 2019.

Along with Pietersen, San Diego’s backline will by anchored by scrum-half Nate Augspurger, inside center JP du Plessis, and fullback Mikey Te’o and will be tasked with stopping RUNY fly-half Cathal Marsh, who has distributed five try assists on the season.

PLAYOFF IMPLICATIONS

Sunday’s match brings with it enormous playoff implications. In the logjam that is the top four spots in the league table, the points in Sunday’s match are huge as the Legion make their way through the second half of the season.

The Legion currently sit in fifth place with 31 points in the tables, one position out of the final playoff spot. They trail the fourth-place Seattle Seawolves and the third-place RUNY by just one point, the second-place Glendale Raptors by two points and the league leading NOLA Gold by seven points. A win over RUNY would at the very least propel the Legion into a playoff spot and, with some help, could place them as high as second place by the end of Round 12.

Sunday’s match against RUNY will be broadcast on Fox 5 San Diego and will be streamed on ESPN+. Kickoff is scheduled for 10 AM PST.

For details of the watch party at Wonderland click HERE.

Stay current with Legion news  by following @SDLegion on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Watch the full re-play of the January 27th.