By Cameron Buford, whatsgoodinsports.com
5/15/21 (7-4) Utah Warriors vs (7-6) Los Angeles Giltinis
As restrictions from the pandemic start to loosens, more and more activities will become available for sports fans in Los Angeles. Welcome to the Los Angeles Giltinis of Major League Rugby, who has stepped in to compete for that entertainment dollar. Giving Los Angeles sports fans, yet another team to root for.
Typically the Giltinis would be playing their games at the Los Angeles Coliseum, near USC. However, due to a scheduling conflict, their game was moved to the fairly new, SoFi Stadium. This would give the Giltinis another opportunity to promote their game to more local fans.
Unbeknownst to me, MLR (Major League Rugby) has tweaked their communication equipment and with that, they have established modifications to their rules to enhance their game experience for the players and the fans. Modifications they believe intend to offer a faster-paced and more competitive competition. Listed below are the new variations of the rules, which will be implemented this season.
• Kickers will have 60 seconds as opposed to 90 seconds for any kick (conversion/penalty) and will have a kick clock to help guide them.
• Seven points will be automatically awarded for any try scored directly under the posts and no conversion will be necessary.
• Referees will work with stricter protocols that will limit the number of scrums to two per incident – the original plus one reset for a collapse, penalty, or freekick.
• The offside line will be the feed line/channel of the scrum to allow for unimpeded access to the ball at the back of the scrum for the attacking team.
• No longer will a red card mean a team plays a man down for the remainder of the match. Under the new law, a red card would lead to a player being sent off and the team goes down to 14 players for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, the player can be replaced with another player on the bench. The red-carded players
cannot return to the field in any event and will go through subsequent disciplinary procedures.
From a novice eye, I couldn’t notice the implementation of these rule modifications. I do know when I asked a few players last how the MLR compares to American Football, they proudly told me it was a “the physicality of football and the up-tempo of soccer, you kind of get the best of both worlds.”
From my vantage point, this game never really seemed to be in doubt for the hometown Giltinis. As they jumped out to a quick lead and blew that up to a 30- 8 lead at one point. They did survive a couple of last-minute scores from the visiting Utah Warriors, which closed their lead to 38-27.
After the match, I had a chance to talk to Head Coach Darren Coleman about the game, specifically what he liked and what he didn’t like about they played tonight? Coach Coleman’s response was, “This was a tough game. Yet one of the best teams we played. Unhappy with offensive execution.”
I asked Coach Coleman if he and the guys got. a charge from the 3,500 fans in attendance? Coach Colman told me, “The crowd was great, they were awesome! This is a sport that caters to all.”
As time was running out on the Warriors and it was apparent they weren’t going to be able to close the gap was some pushing and shoving that then took place as tempers began to flare. I asked Coach Coleman about this and he said “that happens; it was nothing.” He added, “Both teams share a beer after the game; that’s the beauty of Rugby!”
For my first Rugby match, I enjoyed myself and I would certainly return for another game. Kindly share your thoughts on having another team in the market and would you consider going to a LA Giltinis match at the LA Coliseum? I look forward to hearing from you and feel free to reach out to me on Twitter @whatsgoodnsport or forward any suggestions on what additional topics or angles you’d like to see discussed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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