San Diego Legion’s JP Du Plessis scored a tying try at death and Joe Pietersen slotted the conversion to advance to the MLR Shield Final after a 24-22 win over Rugby United New York on Sunday, June 9 at Torero Stadium in San Diego.
The Legion will face the winner of the Seattle Seawolves match against the Toronto Arrows for the Major League Rugby Shield in San Diego on June 16 at 4 pm ET.
San Diego had the first scoring opportunity after the referee reversed a penalty for an altercation. The team attacked from a lineout 6-meters from in-goal, but RUNY defended and were awarded a scrum and cleared.
Rugby United New York scored first from a lineout with Paddy Ryan grounding and Cathal Marsh converting to lead 7-0.
San Diego attacked back and after a RUNY penalty, but lost a potential scoring opportunity after knocking the ball forward shortly after a lineout.
San Diego answered back in the 29th minute attacking from a lineout and Faka’osi Pifeleti finishing with a try under the post. Joe Pietersen then slotted the conversion to level the match at 7 all.
Rugby United New York attacked within the Legion 22-meters and a pass went to ground with the Legion launching an attack. A break by Joe Pietersen and a chip ahead was covered by Ben Foden. A penalty however for being offsides led to a Pietersen penalty goal to take a 10-7 lead.
Just prior to the break, the Roosters attacked from a lineout 12-meters from in-goal. The Legion was penalized again with RUNY attacking from a 5-meter lineout. Dylan Fawsitt grounded the ball after the ensuing maul for a 12-10 lead, but Marsh missed the conversion as the first half ended.
The second half began with a turnover with the Legion going through phases before Josh Furno scored a try under the posts. Pietersen then slotted the kick to reclaim the lead 17-12.
San Diego knocked on the ensuing restart giving the Rosters a scrum at the Legion 22-meters. Another scrum penalty by the Legion had Cathal Marsh slotting a penalty goal to cut the lead to 17-15.
The San Diego Legion went through multiple phases, but a strong Rosters defense led to a turnover and a penalty by the Legion. A Cathal Marsh crosskick was taken by Pietersen, but a forward pass gave the Rosters a scrum at the Legion 22-meters. It earned another scrum penalty for RUNY. Marsh’s kick then drifted just wide of the right post.
RUNY kicked to San Diego, but the ball was lost in the sun with Ben Fodenrecovering and offloading to James Denise for a try. Marsh then slotted the conversion to take a 22-17 lead.
San Diego attacked for several minutes in RUNY territory, but the Rosters defense was strong and ultimately, an obstruction turned the ball over to RUNY.
The Legion attacked from a lineout inside RUNY 22-metes and after several phases in the 79th minute, with Du Plessis scoring in the right corner to level the match at 22 all. Joe Pietersen then slotted the kick from touch to claim a 24-22 win.
It was a thrilling match with San Diego winning at death and they will meet the winner of the Seattle Seawolves and Toronto Arrows match at Torero Stadium next Sunday at 4 pm.
Both teams gave everything that they had on the pitch and Rugby United New York will be disappointed with the loss. The team’s defense was stellar all match, but credit the Legion for coming back with Du Plessis earning Man of the Match honors for the final try.
Squads with Player Article Links and Match Preview
San Diego Legion: 1 Faka’osi Pifeleti 2 Kapeli Pifeleti 3 Paddy Ryan 4 Lou Stanfill 5 Josh Furno 6 Jasa Veremalua 7 Psalm Wooching 8 Jordan Manihera 9 Nate Augspurger 10 Joe Pietersen (C) 11 Nick Boyer 12 JP Duplessis 13 Ryan Matyas 14 Conor Kearns 15 Tai Enosa16 Dean Muir 17 Nathan Sylvia 18 Dino Waldren 19 Siaosi Mahoni 20 Pat Blair 21 Kyle Rogers 22 Save Totovosau 23 Will Holder+ Head Coach Rob Hoadley
Rugby United New York: 1 James Rochford 2 Dylan Fawsitt 3 Paddy Ryan 4 Trevor Cassidy 5 Nate Brakeley 6 John Quill 7 Matt Hughston 8 Ross Deacon 9 Mike Petri (C) 10 Cathal Marsh 11 Connor Wallace-Sims 12 Will Leonard 13 Chris Mattina 14 Mark O’Keeffe 15 Ben Foden 16 Callum Mackintosh 17 Chance Wenglewski18 Chris Sullivan 19 Alex MacDonald 20 James Denise 21Marcus Walsh 22 Harry Bennett 23 Luke Hume + Head Coach Mike Tolkin