Houston SaberCats vs Seattle Seawolves Live : Houston SaberCats vs Seattle Seawolves Major League Rugby 2019 rugby match on Friday.The Houston SaberCats beat the Utah Warriors 29-27 to earn their second Stadium on April 13 against the second-place Seattle Seawolves.The Houston SaberCats will make their third road trip of the season when they travel to the Pacific Northwest to take on the defending MLR Champions, The Seattle Seawolves.
Big changes are coming to Salt Lake City-based Major League Rugby for the third season.The league unveiled its plans Thursday for the 2020 season, which include three more teams, a two-conference regular season, and a tiered playoff structure that will feature the top three teams in each season.
The league will add Boston’s New England Free Jacks, Washington’s Old Glory DC and Atlanta’s Rugby ATL to the competition in 2020, bringing the overall numbers of teams to 12, including the founding member Utah Warriors.
“The expansion of Major League Rugby from nine to 12 teams is exciting in every possible way imaginable,” said Utah coach Alf Daniels, who leads one of MLR’s founding six clubs. “It shows that the MLR is serious, it’s contagious and it’s here to stay. It is a testament that rugby is growing here in the USA. It’s a privilege to be a part of this great Warriors Club, who are founding members. Together, we are building the Warriors. Way as Utah becomes the epicenter of U.S. rugby.”
Match play begins Feb. 15, 2020 with a two-conference setup. Utah will factor into the Western Conference, alongside the Austin Elite, Houston Sabercats, Glendale Raptors, San Diego Legion and Seattle Seawolves. The three new teams will join NOLA Gold, Toronto Arrows and Rugby United New York in the Eastern Conference.
All teams will play a home-and-away series with against in-conference opponents, with a rotating set of home-or-away matches against teams in the other conference. The updated format help alleviate current concerns over travel issues amongst league teams.
The top three teams from each conference will advance to the league’s championship series, with conference champions received a first-round bye and automatic berth in the league semifinals.
“Professional rugby is here to stay in North America,” Major League Rugby commissioner Dean Howes said in a statement. “MLR is the first time the North American sports model has been applied to the global game of rugby. That model is now laying the foundations for the long-term success of this league and the sport.”
Season three for Major League Rugby is going to look a little bit different come 2020 as not only will there be three more expansion sides coming into the already nine-team league, MLR has changed formats and will now feature conference play.
Conference play was almost a foregone conclusion once the new expansion teams were announced, but now it opens up the possibility of even expanding more for the league. There will be an Eastern Conference featuring Rugby ATL, New England Free Jacks, Old Glory DC, Rugby United New York, Toronto Arrows, and NOLA Gold, and there will be a Western Conference featuring Austin Elite Rugby, Houston SaberCats, Glendale Raptors, San Diego Legion, Seattle Seawolves, and Utah Warriors.
There will be 101 matches altogether, 96 regular season and five playoff. Each team will play the five other squads in their conference twice, home and away, for a grand total of 10 matches and they will also play six cross-conference games, three home and away, which brings the same amount of matches played by each side as they play in 2019. The start of the season will be February 15, 2020.
The MLR Championship Series will also look very different. The top three teams in each conference will advance to the playoffs where the two and three seeds in the conference play each other and then the winner will face off against the top seed, who receives a bye in the first round, in the Conference Finals. The winner of that match will go on to the MLR Final to take on the winner of the opposite conference. That will be a total of five matches played in the Championship Series.
This will be very interesting as it will undoubtedly create rivalries. In such a scenario, Old Glory DC and RUNY could become bitter rivals if they are consistently playoff-worthy squads as they potentially would face off three times during the season.
One possibility of a rivalry could be Seattle and Glendale as they always play fierce. For the growth of the game, this is a fantastic approach as it not only develops more interest, it also cuts down on travel for the teams. With that in mind, it will be interesting to see where MLR expands to as it seems like there is a future for 16 sides. No doubt will MLR just add two teams to each conference, but where is a big question mark.
With the rapid development of the league, it would be hard pressed for the other leagues and nation’s governing bodies to not notice what is going on here. This is also a golden opportunity for television networks to tap into this potential gold mine, especially with markets such as New York, Washington, DC, Atlanta, Boston, San Diego, and Toronto involved. You could also possibly see more players from other nations coming over, whether they are looking for more playing time or just continuing their career in a better market.
This is an exciting announcement made by the league as it really shows the commitment to not only growing the game, but how financially strong they are. This is a sign that the league will be here to stay, but it also shows how serious both Canada and the United States are about getting competitive on the world stage.
Major League Rugby will add three teams for its third season, allowing for the creation of two six-team conferences.Coney Island, baby: New York wait for pro rugby ends with win over Toronto Read more In the east, Old Glory DC (Washington, with investment from the Scottish Rugby Union), Rugby ATL (Atlanta) and the New England Free Jacks will compete with Rugby United New York, Toronto Arrows and the Nola Gold (New Orleans).
The west will be made up of Seattle Seawolves, Glendale Raptors (Colorado), San Diego Legion, Utah Warriors, Houston SaberCats and Austin Elite. The top three teams in each conference will contest a five-game playoff series building to a championship game.
In a statement, league commissioner Dean Howes said: “MLR is the first time the North American sports model has been applied to the global game of rugby. That model is now laying the foundations for the long-term success of this league and the sport.”