New England-allocated linebacker Maugaula Tuitele will get a shot at World Bowl glory, despite his team stumbling in its NFL Europe regular season finale.
Tuitele posted a team-high eight tackles and added a fumble recovery, but the Rhein Fire lost 28-10 to the Amsterdam Admirals. Even with the loss, the Fire (7-3) will face the red-hot Berlin Thunder in Saturday's World Bowl, which will be held at Rhein's home stadium, Rheinstadion in Dusseldorf.
Facing the Thunder is a tough draw for Rhein. Berlin, the defending champion, began the season 0-3, but has since won six of its last seven games, including a 27-7 victory over Frankfurt over the weekend. The Thunder needed to win by at least four points to get the World Bowl bid over the Galaxy, and did so with ease.
Rhein won both regular season meetings with Berlin, winning 20-16 at home in Week Three and then beating the Thunder 24-14 in Week Seven. Tuitele, who finished the year tied with fellow linebacker Tim Johnson for the team lead in tackles with 57, had a combined 11 tackles in the two games against Berlin.
In other NFL Europe action, Patriot allocations Scott McCready and Radell Lockhart helped salvage their seasons by helping the Scottish Claymores (5-5) drop F.C. Barcelona (2-8) 27-24. McCready had his strongest game since the season opener, catching five passes for 80 yards, including a 16-yard catch on a third-and-13 play that helped set up the first touchdown of the game.
McCready opened the season by catching five passes for 79 yards and two touchdowns in Week One, but injuries and an inconsistent Scottish offense slowed his production considerably. He ended the season with just 23 catches for 317 yards and two touchdowns, still good to be the Claymores top receiver.
Lockhart posted three tackles and a forced fumble in the finale. After beginning the season as a reserve, Lockhart worked into the starting lineup for most of the second half of the season. He finished with 18 tackles, three forced fumbles and two passes defensed.
With Tuitele reaching the World Bowl, it marks the second straight year a Patriots allocation will play in the title game. Last season wide receiver Tony Simmons and cornerback/wide receiver Sean Morey reached the World Bowl with Barcelona, but the Dragons fell to Berlin.