LA Giltinis wins MLR Championship Shield in first-ever season – Analysis

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LA Giltinis in their inaugural season has won their first-ever MLR Championship final at the Los Angeles Coliseum.

The best team in the league who had a record of 12 wins and four losses in the regular season showed up in the playoffs. They are now the newly crowned champions of Major League Rugby. They are also only the second MLR team to be crowned champions of MLR.

LA Giltinis earn first-ever MLR Championship Shield

John Ryberg and Matt Giteau – MLR Players of the Final

Australian Wallabies player Matt Giteau was awarded the player of the game in 2021 MLR Final. Giteau played a big role in Los Angeles getting 15-straight points in the first half.

First, he converted a penalty early in the first half. He then facilitated a terrific pass to USA Rugby player John Ryberg for the first try in the 21-minute. Giteau also set up the try that ended up with Ryberg’s second try in the 23-minute. This helped Los Angeles take the five-point lead at half-break.

Last Word on Rugby analysis – Other contributing factors

Rugby ATL made a lot of turnovers throughout the game. The CBS announcers commented on this after the end of the first half. However, Los Angeles also forced some of those turnovers.

There were two examples of this in the second half:

  • Los Angeles played good team defence and made a great play in the 70-minute for Atlanta to turn over the ball.
  • In the 80-minutes of play, Atlanta was constantly trying to move up the field, however, superior defensive systems from the hosts forced an Atlanta error and vital turnover right when it counted most.

Los Angeles also scored the first try and the first two penalties of the second half. This fast and solid start helped Giltinis secure the win against Rugby ATL. They also did not allow Atlanta to score a try until very late in the second half. This shows that Los Angeles was all-around the better team.

Better team on the day – applause welcomed for LA Giltinis franchise

Truth be told, LA was the better team against Atlanta. They were the best team in the 2021 MLR season and were the best team in the pitch against Atlanta. This also meant the end of the Seattle Seawolves reign in MLR. The Seawolves won the previous two MLR championships in 2018 and 2019.

There is no guarantee that the Giltinis will win the MLR championship or even be the best team next year. This is because of how competitive MLR is. For example, Seattle had the second-worst record of all MLR teams in the 2021 MLR season. So everyone in the Giltinis should enjoy this moment with their families, friends, and fans.

Also, if one wants to keep this as a memory, grab a local newspaper in Los Angeles and keep it safe for years to come. This is a special memory and no one knows when the next time might or will come.

Giltinis 2021: how it compares with similar US Championship seasons

Ranking LA’s championship with other leagues, the most similar might be in the 1998 MLS season. In that season, the Chicago Fire FC played their first-ever MLS season.

They would end up winning the MLS Cup in their very first season. The other similarity was that MLS at the time was still quite a new league. MLS was in its third season while MLR just completed its fourth season.

The other comparison could be the Vegas Golden Knights making the 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Finals in their very first season and post-season appearance. However, the NHL was well-established at the time and still is and Las Vegas ended up losing in the NHL Stanley Cup Finals.

The 2021 MLR Season: what it means for Major League Rugby

The 2021 MLR season might be the most unusual season in its short history. This is because of COVID-19, which forced the Toronto Arrows to play all their home games in Marietta, Georgia. However, they passed with flying colours. Not one MLR game was cancelled. For a league as young as MLR, that is an amazing accomplishment.

Looking at other leagues in North America, the National Lacrosse League, a league founded in 1986 had to cancel their season this year. Other leagues like the National Basketball League of Canada and the Global T20 Canada also had to cancel their league’s season this year.


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