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Dallas Jackals Complete Inaugural Season Without a Win


The Dallas Jackals and their families | Image by Dallas Jackals / Twitter

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On June 4, the Jackals ended their inaugural Major League Rugby (MLR) season with a home game loss to the Utah Warriors at Choctaw Stadium, 33-5. The Jackals walked away without a win all season.

The Jackals managed to strike first, scoring a try just past the first five minutes of the match, an uncommon feat for the team. The conversion kick failed, giving Dallas their only five points of the game.

From there, the Warriors wore down the Jackals and used a combination of strength and speed to exploit the numerous defensive deficiencies that have plagued the team all season.

A brave defensive effort by Dallas prevented Utah from finding pay dirt until near the mid-point of the match, giving the Jackals an opportunity for one of the first close games in months.

Just past the 34-minute mark, Utah found a lane on the right side of the field and used speed and accuracy to hit perfect passes and a wide-open Danny Christensen for his first points of the day. He would go on to score a total of 24 points in a dominating performance out of the Number 9 position.

Christensen’s second try came past the 52-minute mark on a series of fast passes out of mauls along the try line. This time, he positioned perfectly to cut between Dallas defenders and dove beneath the bar for an uncontested automatic seven.

On the kick-off, Dallas showed fatigue and allowed Utah to set their line to exploit significant holes. Tyler Fisher managed to win the footrace downfield, outpacing diving attempts at ankle tackles to collect the second automatic seven in two minutes for Utah. That extended the lead to 21-5 with around 30 minutes of game time remaining.

A knock-on yellow card against Utah’s Joseph Mano gave Dallas the numbers, but they could not win in the restart as Utah again went to the quick pass, hitting Christensen just to the right of the post for another try. His athletic inside dive put the ball down inside the box to gain another automatic seven.

Utah nearly added another seven at the 77-minute mark, but a penalty against the Warriors resulting from illegal defensive hitting eliminated the try.

Instead, Utah went back to the fast pass and worked the outside left of the field, which had been well defended throughout the night. Mano, now back on the field, took the deep pass in for the final try as the game clock ticked toward 81 minutes. The ensuing conversion failed, and the refs called time on the last game of the season for both teams.

For the first time in MLR history, this season will see six teams enter the playoffs rather than four, a decision made, in part, due to the Dallas Jackals joining the league.

Two of the three competitors in the Western Conference are fellow Texas teams. The Austin Gilgronis finished in first place in the division with a 12-4 record, earning a first-round bye. The Houston SaberCats finished third at 9-7 and will square off against the LA Giltinis in the first round.

The Dallas Jackals were initially slated to begin play in 2021 but held off to wait out the restrictions from the COVID-19 pandemic. The team joined Major League Rugby competition for the 2022 season.       

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