Rugby United New York Win First MLR Match Against Ontario Arrows

Rugby United New York vs. Ontario Arrows

Rugby United New York beat the Ontario Arrows 36-19 in their first Major League Rugby exhibition season match at Iona College’s Mazzella Field on March 17, 2018.

The Ontario Arrows made 7 changes to their starters from their 28 all draw against the Houston SaberCats on March 3. One of their objectives was to see how some of their younger players would handle competing against a formidable Rugby United New York team.

In a fast-paced match with excellent pressure defense from both sides, Rugby United New York took a 26-0 lead into the break. They then pushed their lead to 33-0, before the Ontario Arrows scored three tries to narrow the score to 33-19 before RUNY closed out the match with a penalty kick for a 36-19 win.

Rugby United New York is an Associate member of Major League Rugby for 2018 and will become a full-member for in 2019.  The team is playing four matches, in a home and away series with the Ontario Arrows and Boston Mystic Rugby. At the conclusion of the six-match Ontario Arrows season, they will formally decide whether to petition Major league Rugby for consideration as a member.

Rugby United New York is owned by James Kennedy, who is originally from Limerick, Ireland and has been in New York for about 20 years. The team’s co-owner is John Layfield, better known for his time on the WWE circuit.

The team has reached out to all Empire GU member clubs, area colleges, high schools, as well as to Play Rugby USA, to assist in the development of rugby talent in the area. The team has sought out advisors in former Ireland and USA Rugby head coach Eddie O’Sullivan and former Irish international wing Shane Horgan. O’Sullivan was in New York last weekend on a RUNY sponsored event, Q&A, How to Build Successful and Sustainable Rugby Clubs.

Rugby United New York vs Ontario Arrows Recap

Rugby United New York stole a lineout from the Ontario Arrows, as the ball went long and Dylan Fawsitt gathered and found a gap and executed a grub kick ahead. This led to the first score of the match, as Anthony Parry grounded the ball for a try. Harry Bennett conversion gave RUNY a 7-0 lead. Note, it was incorrectly announced that Dylan Fawsitt had scored. That is understandable, as there was a number of bodies around the ball.

Anthony Parry almost had a second try, after the team had gone through multiple phases, but the Ontario Arrows defense held the ball up in-goal resulting in a 5-meter RUNY scrum. Seamus Kelly powered his way over the line and Bennett slotted the posts for a 14-0 lead.

A third try came after a turnover, as quick hands by Seamus Kelly to Connor Wallace-Sims resulted in Marcus Walsh diving over for a try in the corner. The conversion was missed, but the led increased to 19-0.

With 7 minutes remaining before the break, Harry Bennet was in the process of executing a chip kick, when he was struck in the face by Kolby Francis. The referee deemed this a yellow card offense and the Arrows would play down a man of ten minutes. Unfortunately, Bennett was injured and it is hoped that his recovery will go as smoothly as possible. Chris Vakasisikakala entered the match as a replacement.

Connor Wallace-Sims was also lucky not to have received a yellow card, as he tried to intercept an Arrows pass, knocking it forward. Play continued to flow and after RUNY used a lineout win to get the ball wide to Kelly and then inside to Wallace-Sims for a try. Jack Fitzpatrick slotted the conversion for a 26-0 lead at the break.

Second Half

An early penalty by the Ontario Arrows for entering from the side at the breakdown led to a lineout and a maul. Dylan Fawsitt broke and offloaded inside to Ross Deacon for a try. Fitzpatrick slotted the conversion and the match appeared to be well in hand, 33-0 to RUNY. Both teams were making substitutions during the second half.

The Ontario Arrows scored their first points of the match in the 53rd minute. Alex Gliksten took a quick tap after a RUNY penalty, but another penalty was called on RUNY for not retreating. Shawn Windsor kicked into touch and from the ensuing lineout, Josh Van Horne crashed over for a try. Windsor then converted to narrow the score to 33-7.

The Ontario Arrows had RUNY deep inside their territory and after a 5-meter RUNY scrum, the ball was stripped as a player was isolated and Shawn Windsor added a try, but then missed the conversion.

The Arrows had another scoring opportunity, but the ball was held up in-goal twice resulting in 5-meter scrums. A penalty soon led to an Andrew Wilson try and after the Windsor conversion, the score was 33-19.

During the final minute of the match with RUNY pressing close to in-goal, a penalty was called on the Arrows. RUNY elected to exit the match with a final score, as Jack Fitzpatrick slotted the kick for a 36-19 win.

Rugby United New York is pleased to win their first professional match and they will play Boston Mystic River at Gaelic Park at 7 pm on March 24.

The Ontario Arrows 9 hour bus ride back to Toronto may seem longer with the loss, but many younger players obtained valuable experience. The Arrows will travel to play the Utah Warriors on April 6 at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah.

Rugby United New York and Ontario Arrows Squads & Staff

Rugby United New York: 1 Anthony Parry, 2 Dylan Fawsitt (capt.), 3 Kirk Hamilton, 4 David Gannon, 5 Nate Brakeley, 6 Alex Schwarz, 7 James Denise, 8 Ross Deacon, 9 Marcus Walsh, 10 Harry Bennett, 11 Connor Wallace-Sims, 12 Jack Fitzpatrick, 13 Seamus Kelly, 14 Mike St. Claire, 15 Luke Hume 16 Mike Brown, 17 Brian McKellar, 18 Chris Sullivan, 19 Dave Shotton, 20 Nick Wolley, 21 Mike Petri, 22 Chris Vakasisikakala, 23 Greg Voigt, 24 Gavan D’Amore-Morrison

Ontario Arrows: 1 Pat Lynott, 2 Jack McRogers, 3 Tom Dolezel, 4 Josh van Horne, 5 Paul Ciulini, 6 Mike Sheppard (capt.), 7 Peter Milazzo, 8 Kolby Francis, 9 Alex Gliksten, 10 Will Kelly, 11 Kyle Lagasca, 12 Shawn Windsor, 13 Josh Campbell, 14 Johnny Sheridan, 15 Aaron McLelland 16 AJ Quattrin, 17 Rob Brouwer, 18 Mike Smith, 19 Tom van Horne, 20 Marcello Wainwright, 21 Mario van der Westhuizen, 22 Jamie Leveridge, 23 Mitch Richardson, 24 Andrew Wilson

Rugby United NY Staff

  • Head Coach: Mike Tolkin
  • Assistant Coaches: Bruce McLane, Andrew Britt, Vili Vakasisikakala
  • Manager: Kevin McCorry
  • Head Physio: Ethan Burger
  • Lead Physician: Dr. Marc Kowalsky

Ontario Arrows Staff

  • Head Coach: Chris Silverthorn
  • Assistant Coaches: David Butcher, Aaron Carpenter, Cory Hector
  • General Manager: Mark Winokur
  • Performance Analyst: Rodin Lozada
  • Athletic Therapist: Chris Kelly
  • Team Doctor: Dr. John Gillis



Upcoming Rugby United New York Event

Rugby United New York hopes to make Gaelic park their home. On March 24, the team will host a double-header with a charity game at 4 pm between FDNY and NYPD (New York City Fire Department vs. New York Bravest RFC). At 7 pm, Rugby United New York will play Boston Mystic River.

A partnership was also announced with the Four Leaf Fifteens Rugby Tournament and Rugby United New York (RUNY). The Four Leaf Fifteens Rugby Tournament 2018 tournament will take place on Randall’s Island on Saturday, March 24, 2018.

“As part of the partnership, Rugby United New York will have a presence at the all-day tournament and post-tournament social hosted at Bronx Brewery. In addition, Rugby United New York is offering discounted tickets to teams registered for the tournament for the club’s inaugural home match against Boston, which will take place at Gaelic Park in the Bronx at 7 P.M on March 24. Shuttle service to the inaugural home match will be offered by Rugby United New York from the post-tournament social at Bronx Brewery to the team’s match at Gaelic Park. General sale tickets for match day are available at”

Rugby United New York Schedule

  • March 17 vs. Ontario Arrows (W 36-19) Preview
  • March 24 vs. Boston Mystic River at Gaelic Park
  • March 31 at Boston Mystic River
  • April 14 at Ontario Arrows

Ontario Arrows Schedule

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North American Rugby News With A USA Slant