Last weekend, MLR should have crowned the champion of Year Three. While the crown will go unworn, there’s no need to wait until February to scratch the itch for professional rugby.
If you haven’t already, check out Super Rugby Aotearoa. The New Zealand-only competition has immediately becoming competitive and incredibly entertaining. While MLR often resembles the North Hemisphere style of rugby, with long, grinding attacking drives, SRA is more free-flowing. Kicking is king and scoring is generally higher. In many ways, it’s a style of play that would be welcome in American sports landscape.
If you do toon in, there are a couple differences to be aware of. SRA is enforcing rules around the breakdown far more heavily. The whistles have put in their work the first two weeks with games including around total 30 penalties.
SRA is also testing two new rules. The first is allowing a red carded player to be replaced after 20 minutes. While it hasn’t come into play yet, the intention is to provide a better product on the field. Second, SRA is testing the Golden Point overtime rule, in which a draw after 80 minutes will feature an overtime of up to 10 minutes. However, any score by either side immediately ends the game.