MLR Notes – More signings, injury updates, and bit of trivia


The Major League Rugby trade and signing deadline has now passed but players are still being announced by their respective teams. Suspensions have also been slapped on Houston’s Pote Human and New York’s Ollie Richardson after the two coaches resorted to fisticuffs to sort out a disagreement on Sunday.

New England are also playing the waiting game on the status of Jesse Parete after he received his marching orders by Scott Green in the first half of the game against ATL. It’s the second red card of the season for the abrasive lock and while they were both a result of second yellows, he is almost certainly out for a few weeks. Parete has also been cited for a stamp on ATL flyhalf Duncan van Schalkwyk that led to his first yellow of the game.

Andrew Quattrin and John Poland both exited the field with injuries. Quattrin strained an adductor and Poland damaged a bicep. Thankfully neither are serious though it looks unlikely either will be risked against New York this weekend with a bye week up next.

van Schalkwyk will be a concern for ATL as the flyhalf departed the field in the first half, not long after his meeting with Parete’s boot. Meanwhile the club has confirmed a new signing, 34-year-old South African hooker Sidney Tobias. He is notably the son of former Springboks flyhalf Errol Tobias, the first black player to represent South Africa in a test match. Sidney is a replacement for the injured Tiaan Erasmus, and likely means that Phil Thiel won’t be called on again.

The SaberCats announced a new addition at the end of last week. One-time Eagles scrumhalf Devereaux Ferris joined up in time to play against New York. He was acquired by Dallas from NOLA during the off-season but didn’t end up signing for the Jackals, and was instead running out with Seattle RC. Given the expected arrival of de Haas it came as a surprise, though Nick Boyer notably was not dressed for Houston.

A very concerning sight for SaberCats fans was that of fullback Drew Wild being carried off the field with some kind of leg injury. It wasn’t clear from the video evidence what the damage was, but there are players who can step in with Gerrie Engelbrecht, Zach Pangelinan, Robbie Povey, and Kian Meadon all options if Wild is out for any length of time.

New York are sweating over Jason Emery, who went off late in the game against Houston for an HIA. They are already without starting No10 Jack Heighton due to concussion and would be down to just Sam Windsor at flyhalf though Nick Feakes has played there on occasion with NOLA. Another who went down was Quinn Ngawati, the Canadian back seemingly twisting an ankle in the first half.

DC got some bad news in the lead-up to the game against Utah. Starting midfielder Fermín Martínez has torn his ACL and is done for the season. It seems to have occurred in an awkward off-the-ball collision with Emery in last week’s game against New York. Thretton Palamo and William Talataina started against the Warriors with Canadian international Doug Fraser another option.

With Niall Saunders shipping off to ATL, Utah have opted to bring in another scrumhalf. Tongan age-grade international Siaosi Nai has signed on for the rest of the season. The 23-year-old adds depth behind starter Connor McLeod and second-choice Zion Going.

Two new front rowers have joined up with the Hounds. Both are of the heavyweight variety and are noted for their ball carrying abilities. Tighthead prop Fred Apulu joins in trade from San Diego and got a few minutes in against NOLA. Hooker or loosehead Steveni Lombard has returned stateside after turning heads in the All-Ireland League. Born in Tonga, the 23-year-old grew up in Hawai’i and will be closely watched by Eagles selectors.

The Arrows injury curse continues as both Ramon Ayarza and Noel Reid were late withdrawals before kickoff against Seattle. Meanwhile Mike Sheppard lasted just 8 minutes before being replaced. Ayarza was due to cover loosehead prop, because a new hooker was on the bench. Tyler Wong has signed on from the Pacific Pride, having previously represented Canada at u20 level.

Add another Argentine to the Jackals roster. Not many North Americans will be familiar with Tomas Cubilla, but the 25-year-old center or wing is highly rated in his home country. Cubilla captained the Argentina XV in the 2020 South American Championship and also skippered the Jaguares XV throughout last year’s SLAR campaign. Where exactly he slots in remains to be seen.

Let’s wrap things up with a little bit of trivia. Through 10 weeks of the MLR campaign, only two players have appeared in every single minute of their team’s nine games played. Both are backs, and both play in Texas. The answers? Houston vice-captain Christian Dyer has switched between outside center and right wing, while Tomás Malanos has occupied the outside center slot for Dallas exclusively since Round 1.

Dallas captain Jerónimo Gómez Vara leads all forwards in minutes played having missed only five minutes at the end of the game against Houston. In terms of percentage, however, there is one slightly better. Seawolves flanker Charles Elton was replaced two minutes before full-time in the season opener against New York. His minutes are behind Gómez Vara by a twist of fate – only 40 minutes were played against Chicago before lighting intervened!

MLR Notes – More signings, injury updates, and bit of trivia .

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