The Utah Warriors (1-2-1) will face Rugby United New York (3-1) this Friday, March 8th at Zions Bank Stadium starting at 7:00 PM MST (9 pm EST). The match will be aired locally on KMYU-TV and streamed on ESPN+ and Facebook Watch.
Last week the Warriors suffered a last-minute loss to the New Orleans Gold, 21-19 and Rugby United won 35-8 over the Houston Sabercats. The Warriors are currently in seventh place in the league with seven total points and Rugby United is ranked fifth with 13 total points on the table.
The Utah Warriors played well in their last-minute loss to NOLA Gold last week. Head Coach Alf Daniels has elected to maintain team consistency with only Joseph Nicholls replacing Ian Luciano in the reserves. Update Jeremy Leber will be on the reserves at hooker. He previously played with the St. Louis Royals, Lindenwood University and for the Western Districts in Australia.
Rugby United New York Head Coach Mike Tolkin has made three changes in his starters from last week’s win against the Houston SaberCats. Nate Brakeley returned from playing with the U.S., while Chris Sullivan and Derek Lipscomb gain their first starts at tighthead prop and at wing, respectively. Paddy Ryan moves to the Reserves with Mike St. Claire joining the matchday 23 with Will Leonard having the week off. Mark O’Keeffe and Chris Mattina switch to inside and outside center, respectively. The team is in 5th place with a 3-1 record.
Team Statistics and Tendencies
Both teams have played four matches and the Utah Warriors are second in team defense, while seventh in offense. The team has scored 9 tries, while also conceding 9. They also have 5 penalty goals but have conceded 8.
NOLA Gold found that they had difficulty crossing in-goal against the Warriors last week in the snow. The Warriors defense inside their 22-meters has been stellar all season. The team gives up few penalties, averaging 9 per match. These tend to be on the tackle, scrum, or being offsides.
The Warriors have won 79% of their scrums and 86% of there lineouts and have a 97% retention in the breakdown. Tim O’Malley is one of the leading kickers and is ready to capitalize off mistakes by opponents. The team’s leading try scorers are Lance Williams, Gannon Moore, and Ara Elkington with 2 tries each. Moore is playing with the U.S. and will not be a factor. The leading ball carriers are Williams, O’Malley, and Franco Van den Berg. The leading tacklers are Elkington, Williams, and O’Malley.
Rugby United New York is second in the MLR in the attack while being 4th in defense. The team plays expansive rugby and uses quick hands to try to create gaps to exploit. They have scored 14 tries while conceding 12. They have also added 8 penalty goals, while only conceding 4. Cathal Marsh is also accurate in slotting conversions.
The team averages 11.3 penalties per match. They tend to be on the tackle, being offsides, or in the maul. They have won 93% of their scrums and 87% of their lineouts. The team has been aggressive in going to tries using set pieces to attack instead of going for goal when opportunities present.
The team tries have been distributed among a number of players, however, Chris Mattina, Dylan Fawsitt, and James Denise each have 2. The leading ball carriers are Ross Deacon, Will Leonard, and Ben Foden. The leading tacklers are Leonard, Trevor Cassidy, and Deacon.
The Utah Warriors will need to play a possession game, minimize penalties, and ramp up their coverage defense. They will also try to exploit RUNY on counterattacks from clearance kicks. Most of the backs have sevens experience and are excellent on the attack.
Rugby United New York will continue to play expansive rugby and their aggression in the attack has been an asset. The team is proficient in set pieces and likes to attack from lineouts from close range. RUNY will need to maintain possession better with the Warriors likely to play a possession game.
Look for an exciting match with many hard hits that is played at a fast pace.
Squads with Player Article Links
Utah Warriors: 1 Franco Van den Berg 2 Logan Daniels 3 Angus Maclellan 4 Matt Jensen 5 Saia Uhila 6 Lance Williams 7 Ara Elkington 8 John Cullen (VC) 9 Johnny Ika 10 James Semple 11Fetu’u Vanikolo 12 Tim O’Malley (C) 13 Jeremy Misailegalu 14 Tonata Lauti 15 Josh Whippy 16 Jeremy Leber 17 Huluhola Moungaloa 18 Jackson Kaka19 Kenny Scott 20 Alex Tucci 21 Nolan Tuamoheloa 22 Josh Anderson 23 Joseph Nicholls + Head Coach Alf Daniels
Rugby United New York: 1 James Rochford 2 Dylan Fawsitt 3 Chris Sullivan 4 Nate Brakeley 5 Trevor Cassidy 6 Matt Hughston 7 James Denise 8 Ross Deacon 9 Mike Petri (C) 10 Cathal Marsh 11 Connor Wallace-Sims 12 Mark O’Keeffe 13 Chris Mattina 14 Derek Lipscomb 15 Ben Foden16 Mike Brown17 Anthony Parry 18 Paddy Ryan19 Matt Wirken 20 Alex MacDonald 21 Marcus Walsh 22 Mike St. Claire 23 Gavan D’Amore-Morrison + Head Coach Mike Tolkin