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Major League Rugby Conference Finals Preview

Who will make it to the championship match?

Source: Major League Rugby

The Major League Rugby (MLR) conference finals are set. After a weekend of exciting play, four teams remain to compete for the Shield.

Western Conference Finals

On Saturday, June 18, the Western Conference Finals kick off between two of the original seven MLR teams: the Houston Sabercats and Seattle Seawolves.

Source: Houston Sabercats

The Sabercats, who finished first in the conference after the Austin Gilgronis and LA Giltinis were disqualified, are making their first ever postseason appearance. After the roster and coaching staff were overhauled before the season, the team is hoping that their lack of playoff experience will not hinder them in reaching the championship match.

The Seawolves on the other hand will give all Houston it can handle. The team has won two MLR championships and are coming off a dominant win in the Western Conference Eliminator match over San Diego.

The season series is split between the two with Houston winning 21-19 on March 12 and Seattle winning 43-36 on May 27.

The conference final will be played at Aveva Stadium, the only current rugby-specific stadium in MLR. Kickoff is at 6:00 PM CT on FS2.

Eastern Conference Finals

On Sunday, June 18, the New England Free Jacks will host Rugby New York in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Source: New England Free Jacks

Similar to Houston, New England is playing in its first ever playoff match. The team was the best in MLR in 2022 with a final record of 13-3 (62 table points). With an explosive attack and solid defense, the squad is coming in as the favorites to win.

Rugby New York is no stranger to the postseason after making it to the Eastern Conference Finals for a second straight year. With their win over Rugby ATL in the conference eliminator, the team is looking to make it to their first championship match.

The two teams played each other three times in the regular season with the series leaning to the Free Jacks who won the March 6 match (38-29) and the April 24 match (29-26). New York did win the final match on June 3 (21-14) at the Free Jacks' Veterans Memorial Stadium. Only time will tell if they can repeat that success.

The conference final will be played in New England at Veterans Memorial Stadium. Kickoff is at 3:00 PM EST on FS1

Who do you think will win the second round of the playoffs?


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