Two weeks in a row, the Dallas Jackals set infamous records. First, the team lost by the largest margin in Major League Rugby history. They followed that performance up with a landmark shutout loss that marked the greatest difference in points in a shutout in league history. The two crushing defeats did nothing to quench the fierceness with which the league’s newest team plays.
Facing the Los Angeles Giltinis, who sought a victory to claim the top spot in the division, Dallas showed amazing toughness and resiliency.
Unlike most of the matches this season in which opponents scored at will throughout the opening minutes, the Jackals kept the game tied without a score until near the halfway mark. Even then, it took a skillful andd creative series of passes for the Giltinis players to make a try.
Dallas didn’t quit then either, answering that first score with a brilliant try of their own. Conrado Roura took the ball out of a scrum, slipping past the LA defense and diving in for a try. The successful conversion kick tied the match at seven apiece, a rare event in Jackals matches this season.
LA answered back, forming an attacking maul on a lineout toss, then pushing the final meters into the try zone. Dallas has had issues being overpowered in try-line mauls all season, and the Giltinis were able to drive the pile despite the efforts of Jackals players piling on the backside. The conversion kick brought the score to 14-7.
The Giltinis’ third try of the day was nothing more than sheer speed and the ability to overcome brutal Dallas tackles by quickly flipping the ball out before stoppages were called. Another conversion kick made the score 21-7 just beyond the half mark.
The Jackals demonstrated their passion on the next drive but could not contain the Giltinis, who seemed to find passing opportunities despite driving tackles that put LA players into the turf. LA forced another try to surge ahead by an insurmountable 28-7 score.
Dallas has scored more than 28 points only twice this season, the last time in Round 3 on February 19 against Houston.
Minutes later, LA scored another try, again coming on a lineout the Giltinis used to turn into an attacking maul. Backers forced the maul over the try line for the collapsing score and a massive 35-7 lead with only a little more than 20 minutes of playing time remaining.
At the 70-minute mark, Dallas made a critical mental error and did not cover up after a series of violent tackles nearly stalled a Giltinis drive. Instead, Giltinis players sprang free, and it was a footrace to the try zone, won out by LA.
Though the match was well out of hand, the Jackals continued to fight. A miscue on a Giltinis pass in which the receiver looked away from the ball before securing the catch put the ball in play, and it was collected by newly-acquired Lui Sitama, who went in for the Jackals’ second and final try of the day. The score is the third of his career and the first since joining the team.
LA would add two more tries in the final eight minutes of play as the Jackals’ defense fell apart. The first was an automatic seven score between the posts, while the final score was gained when the Jackals failed to stop a restart scrum after LA kicked the ball into the try zone and Dallas touched it. The final score was 56-12.
With the inaugural season all but over for Dallas, the team has made significant progress in becoming more aggressive on the attack but continues to fail when the defense is pushed. The Jackals will get a break in Round 17 before the season finale when Dallas hosts the Utah Warriors on June 4.