Rugby United New York Edges San Diego Legion on MLR Debut

The San Diego Legion hosted Rugby United New York on Sunday, January 27 at Torero Stadium in San Diego. The match was broadcast on ESPN+, Fox 5 San Diego, and on SNY. RUNY took a 15-7 lead into the break and emerged with a 25-23 win.

On February 2, the Legion will host the SEattle Seawolves at 3:30 PT. RUNY has a bye week and then travel to New Orleans to play NOLA Gold on February 9 at 2 pm CT.

San Diego Legion vs Rugby United New York Match Recap

Rugby United New York played expansive rugby and controlled much of the early possession. In the 10th minute, Luke Hume offloaded to Chris Mattina, who stepped Veremalua for a try. Cathal Marsh then converting giving RUNY a 7-0 lead.

A San Diego attack reached to within 5-meters of the line, but a Nick Boyer pass was intercepted by Nate Brakeley and after couple of phases were at midfield.

RUNY then had a break by Ben Foden, who offloaded to Marsh then to Mattina and back outside to Hume to Connor Wallace-Sims, who dove over for a try in the left corner for a 12-0 lead.

In the 31st minute Chris Turori was sent to the bin interferringwith play from an offsides posiiton. Three minutes later, a Legion penalty led to a Cathal Marsh kick to push the lead to 15-0.

It took a Lou Stanfill block of a Mike Petri box kick to change the momentum for the Legion. Joe Pietersen elected not to go for points and kicked the ball to touch for a 5 meter lineout. After a couple of picks, Nick Boyer found a seam and scored a try. Pietersen then slotted the conversion to cut the lead to 15-7 at the break.

San Diego came out for the second half and promptly went deep into RUNY territory with a penalty providing Pietersen the chance to cut the lead again to 15-10 after a kick. A short time later, another penalty resulted in a Pietersen kick to cut the lead to 15-13.

RUNY attacked back with Ben Foden reaching to within 5-meters of the line. The Legion defense thwarted the attack and a penalty allowed the Legion to clear.

The Legion had a breakaway by Pietersen who cut inside. After several players carried the ball into contact, Matt Hughston was sent to the bin. This led to a Pietersen kick to claim the Legion’s first lead, 16-15. That lead was short lived as Cathal marsh slotted a penalty kick for a 18-16 RUNY lead.

San Diego then placed RUNY under sustained pressure with two potential tries held up in-goal. After a 5-meter scrum and a few player touches, Pietersen went in for a try in the 70th minute and then converted for a Legion 23-18 lead.

RUNY then attacked and kicked the ball to touch 20-meters out after a Legion penalty. The team moved the ball to within 3-meters of the line before Save Totovasau intentionally knocked the ball on after an intercept try. This resulted in him being sent to the bin and resulted in a penalty try for a 25-23 lead.

The restart was then claimed by RUNY and they executed picks by the forwards before Petri’s box kick to Kyle Rogers. Soon after a knock led to a RUNY scrum with less than a minute left. The team retained possession and Petri kicked the ball into touch for the win.

The match was an exciting one with RUNY playing expansive rugby and with the Legion coming back from 15 points down. This was done inspite of their wings not being a factor in the match. Both teams had strong defenses in the red zone.

The RUNY forwards were exceptional in maintaining possession an contributing to the passing attack. The Legion forwards looked to come into contact first. Both teams will be in the hunt for the MLR shield this year.

At the conclusion of the match, Joe Pietersen was named Man of the Match for San Diego.

Squads With Player Article Links & Preview

San Diego Legion: 1 Nathan Sylvia 2 Deon Muir 3 Paddy Ryan 4 Lou Stanfill 5 Keni NasoqeqeChris Turori  7 Devin Short 8 Drew Gaffney 9 Nick Boyer10 Joe Pietersen11 Jasa Veremalua 12 Dylan Audsley 13  JP du Plessis 14 Save Totovosau15 Conor Kearns16 Kapeli Pifeleti 17 Faka’osi Pifeleti 18 Aaron Mitchell19 Sione Tu’ihalamaka 20 Alec Barton 21 Tai Enosa 22 Kyle Rogers 23 Marcus Tupuola

Rugby United New York:James Rochford 2 Dylan Fawsitt 3 Paddy Ryan 4 Nate Brakeley 5 Trevor Cassidy 6 Kyle SumsionJohn Quill 8 Ross Deacon 9 Mike Petri 10 Cathal Marsh 11 Connor Wallace-Sims 12 Will Leonard 13 Ben Foden 14 Chris Mattina 15 Luke Hume 16 Mike Brown 17 Anthony Parry18 Kirkland Hamilton19 Alex MacDonald 20 Matt Hughston 21 Marcus Walsh 22 Seimou Smith 23 Derek Lipscomb

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