LA Giltinis claims MLR title with convincing win over ATL
The LA Giltinis are Major League Rugby champions after defeating Rugby ATL 31-17 at the Memorial Coliseum on Sunday afternoon. It was a comprehensive performance from the home side, who left their opponents frustrated and took advantage of nearly every scoring opportunity.
Matt Giteau turned down an early chance at the posts to instead aim for the corner. A set move attacking the short side was foiled by the ATL defense. At the other end a jarring tackle from Bill Meakes on Johan Momsen forced a knock-on to stall the Ratlers momentum.
Short breaks from Marko Janse van Rensburg and Rowan Gouws gained territory for the visitors and then the LA defense conceded an offside penalty directly in front of the posts. There was no thought of taking a risk for ATL, with Kurt Coleman taking the easy three points to open the scoring.
A reply came swiftly from the home side. ATL were caught shorthanded defending the sideline and then were pinged for failing to roll from the tackle. This time Giteau accepted the offering, his left boot accurate to bring the two sides level.
In a flash the Giltinis scored twice. Giteau put John Ryberg through a gaping hole in the middle of the ATL defense for the first. It was Ryberg again with the second. Giteau’s chip over the line was regathered by Adam Ashley-Cooper and the rampaging winger had the awareness to reach out to the line after being tripped up by the last defender.
Charlie Abel was pinged for a late hit on Ryan Nell. The ATL co-captain left the pitch with an arm injury, replaced by Mark O’Keeffe, as Coleman executed a perfect kick to the corner from a tight angle. From the lineout the drive came on and it worked as intended with Janse van Rensburg getting credit for the try.
The first points of the second half went to LA. Marno Redelinghuys took out Dave Dennis off the ball and Giteau knocked over another three points. An attacking lineout for the Ratlers was disrupted and the Giltinis again went on the attack. ATL’s defense was stretched and DTH van der Merwe was left unmarked to touch down in the corner. Full match report via Americasrugbynews