June 17, 2019 – San Diego, CA: The second-ever Major League Rugby (MLR) Championship Final was played in San Diego on Sunday, and in front of a packed Torero Stadium, the defending champion Seattle Seawolves beat the top-seeded San Diego Legion 26 to 23 with a last-minute try to become back-to-back champions and retain the 2019 MLR Championship Shield.
“It was crazy, man,” Seawolves wing Brock Staller said after the match. “That last 15-20 minutes for myself personally was kind of an emotional roller coaster. I had a bit of a slip-up and I just kept telling myself, ‘What’s important now? What can I do in this moment for us to be successful?’ Just tried to keep those demons out of my head.”
The Seawolves finished 11-4-1 this season and boasted the league’s top scorer in Staller, a Surrey native who played in the BC Premier League before heading south of the border. After edging the Glendale Raptors in the 2018 championship to cap off MLR’s inaugural season, they are once again the top team in the league.
While the result was not what the hosting San Diego Legion-friendly crowd had hoped to see, the sold-out championship game capped off a successful second season for MLR that has seen spikes in viewership and attendance across the board.
“On behalf of the MLR I’d like to congratulate the Seattle Seawolves ownership group, management and of course their players on a fantastic season,” said MLR Commissioner Dean Howes. “The dramatic finish to the match was a truly exciting way to end our second season and we’re thrilled for the fans in Seattle to taste victory for the second straight year.”
Seattle will chase a third title in an expanded 12-team competition in 2020 with the addition of the New England Free Jacks, Old Glory DC and Rugby ATL.