Rugby United New York host Austin Elite Rugby on Sunday, May 19 at 1 pm. Tickets are available for the match and it is being broadcast on ESPN+, SNY, and Facebook Watch.
Rugby United New York likely need to win their three remaining matches in order to be in contention for the playoffs. Six teams are currently in the hunt for four playoff spots. Four of the teams have three matches remaining, while San Diego and Toronto have two. The top six teams are separated by 10 points, with only 4 points separating the third-place Toronto Arrows from fifth place Rugby United New York. A bonus point win would move the team back in a top four position. See MLR standings!
Rugby United New York enters the match against the SaberCats with a 9-4 record and 44 points. They place NOLA Gold on May 26 at home and then travel to Toronto for their last regular season match on June 2.
Austin Elite Rugby has had a difficult season with injuries, the Americas Rugby Championship affecting player availability, and has tried to bring in some international players, but visa issues have slowed that process. In the previous match between the teams in San Antonio on March 30, RUNY defeated Austin Elite 19-11. They finish the season away against Houston on May 25 and on June 1 in Seattle.
Rugby United New York Head Coach Mike Tolkin has made five changes in his starters with Anthony Parry, Sean McNulty, and Alex MacDonald at loosehead prop, hooker, and lock, respectively. Backs changes include Harry Bennett at flyhalf and Luke Hume at fullback.
Austin Elite Rugby Head Coach Alain Hyardet has made four changes in the starters with Dom Bailey at flanker, Rikus Zwart at No.8, JP Aguirre at flyhalf with Rodrigo Silva moving to scrumhalf, and Sione Fangaiuiha at wing.
On paper, Rugby United New York has a statistical advantage. They are ranked the sixth-ranked attack team in the MLR, while ranked second in defense. Austin is 9th and 7th, respectively. On attack, RUNY controls possession 54%, territory 53%, and spends 43.1 minutes on the attack. Contrast that with Austin at 48%, 48%, and 38.4 minutes. When confronted with scoring opportunities, RUNY chooses to go for tries and have scored 49 to Austin’s 26. Austin takes points when available and have an edge in penalty goals 17-7.
The leading try scorers for RUNY are Dylan Fawsitt with 10 (3rd highest in MLR), while Connor Wallace-Sims has 6. Austin’s leading try scorer is Soheyl Jaoudat with 4.
Look for Ben Foden, Mark O’Keeffe and Dylan Fawsitt to continue to be the leading ball carriers, while for Austin Elite, Travis Larsen, Soheyl Jaoudat and Ben Mitchell have had the bulk of ball carries meters.
Look for RUNY to test Austin Elite Rugby in the scrums. They have won 93% of their own scrums compared to Austin’s 83%. Austin gained a reinforcement this week in Japan Top League prop Sunao Takizawa, but he is not in the matchday side. In the lineouts, the teams are relatively even. The wind can be a factor if it is blowing in from the Ocean. The forecast calls for 15 mph winds that day. That impacts some not straight calls and also impacts match day choices whether to kick at goal or go for tries. Austin Elite will look to Josh Larsen in the lineouts, with Ben Mitchell out. Ronan McCusker will also be a target. RUNY’s go-to player is Nate Brakeley.
Squads with Player Article Links
Rugby United New York: 1 Anthony Parry 2 Sean McNulty 3 James Rochford 4 Alex MacDonald 5 Nate Brakeley 6 John Quill 7 Matt Hughston 8 Dylan Fawsitt 9 Mike Petri (C) 10 Harry Bennett 11 Connor Wallace-Sims 12 Will Leonard 13 Mark O’Keeffe 14 Mike St. Claire 15 Luke Hume 16 Callum Mackintosh 17 Chance Wenglewski 18 Chris Sullivan 19 Matt Wirken 20 Kyle Sumsion 21 Marcus Walsh 22 Ben Foden 23 Marcus Satavu + Head Coach Mike Tolkin
Austin Elite Rugby: 1 LaRome White 2 Peter Malcolm 3 Mason Pedersen 4 Ronan McCusker 5 Josh Larsen (VC) 6 Travis Larsen 7 Dominique Bailey 8 Rikus Zwart 9 Rodrigo Sliva 10 Juan Pablo “JP’ Aguirre 11 Sione Fangaiuiha 12 Andres Vilaseca 13 Simon Bienvenu 14 Reece Czarnecki 15 Zinzan Elan-Puttick (C) 16 Tiaan Strauss Erasmus 17 Juan Echeverria18 Philip Hanson 19 Kyle Breytenbach 20 Moe Abdelmonem 21 Soheyl Jaoudat 22 Doug Fraser 23 Aidan McMullan + Head Coach Alain Hyardet