The New England Free Jacks defeated Rugby United New York 34-14 at Sam Boyd Stadium in a Major League Rugby Vegas Weekend match. The match was streamed on ESPN+ and broadcast on NESN.
Both teams will train in Las Vegas ahead of their next match on February 15 as part of MLR Vegas Weekend. New England will face the Utah Warriors, while Rugby United New York plays Austin Gilgronis.
The New England Free Jacks struck first after a lineout just outside Rugby United New York’s 22-meters. After several phases, Mitch Wilson scored in the left corner to lead 5-0 as Tadhg Leader’s conversion attempt was wide.
A Free Jacks clearance kick bounced off the crossbar and Brad Hemopo gathered for a try under the posts, giving Leader an easy conversion, 12-0. Tadhg Leader would tack on 3 more points after a RUNY penalty to lead 15-0.
A RUNY steal at the breakdown and then a penalty for the Free Jacks not rolling away had the Roosters mauling inside the 22-meters. New England collapsed the maul and Josh Larsen was sent to the bin. RUNY mauled after lineout 5-meters out with Kyle Sumsion finishing and Marsh converting into the wind to cut the lead to 15-7.
The ensuing restart was knocked on by the Roosters and following a 5-meter scrum, Beaudein Waaka added a try with Leader converting to push the lead to 22-7.
Following a dangerous tackle penalty by the Free jacks and another penalty, the Rooster mauled from a lineout and mauled again, however, the ball was turned over just prior to in-goal resulting in a 5-meter scrum. New England then cleared with a box kick.
The Roosters went on the attack and the Free Jacks were penalized after a Foden chip for not releasing at the breakdown. A New England poach at the breakdown soon after thwarted the Rooster attack.
At the break, the New England Free Jacks led 22-7 after scoring 15 points in the first 15 minutes. The Free jacks had the edge in the scrums, while the Rugby United New York showed why their maul is among the best in the league. The latter third of the first half was an even contest, but the Roosters will need to score early in the second half to shift the momentum of the game if they hope to come back. The Free Jacks will, in turn, be looking for a fourth try to gain a bonus point and then to finish out the match with an inaugural season-opening match win.
The first twelve minutes of the match was even, however, a Ben Foden intercept attempt had him sent to the bin. The Free Jacks attacked from a scrum about 12-meters out and moved the ball wide left with Mitch Wilson offloading to Beaudein Waaka for a bonus point try in the left corner to push the lead to 27-7.
The Free Jacks attacked from a scrum with Beaudein Waaka chip and chase picked up by Sam Beard, who offloaded to Liam Steel for a try. Waaka then slotted the extras to lead 34-7.
Rugby United New York added a final try by Kyle Sumsion. First Mike Petri was held up in-goal and then Sumsion took a quick tap in for a try. Cathal Marsh slotted the conversion for a final of 34-14 in favor of New England.
The New England Free Jacks open their inaugural Major League Rugby season with a win with Beaudein Waaka named Man of the Match. The Free Jacks and Rugby United New York will remain in Las Vegas for next Saturday’s Free Jacks match against the Utah Warriors and the Roosters match against the Austin Gilgronis.
Squads With Player Article Links & Match Preview
New England Free Jacks: 1 Donald Brighouse 2 Sean McNulty 3 Kensuke Hatakeyama 4 Jackson Thiebes 5 6 Naulia Dawai 7 Zack Stryffeler 8 Brad Hemopo 9 John Poland10 Tadhg Leader 11 Mitch Wilson 12 Sam Beard 13 Liam Steel 14 Poasa Waqanibau15 Beaudein Waaka 16 Steve Hinshaw 17 Khalid Williams 18 Kyle Ciquera 19 Conor Kindregan 20 Owen Hundt 21Erik Thompson 22 Timothée Guillimin 23 Deion Mikesell
Rugby United New York: 1 Anthony Parry 2 Dylan Fawsitt 3 Paddy Ryan 4 Matt Wirken 5 Trevor Cassidy 6 Nate Brakeley 7 James Denise 8 Kyle Sumsion 9 Marcus Walsh 10 Cathal Marsh 11Connor Wallace-Sims 12 Will Leonard 13 Mathieu Bastareaud 14 Chris Mattina 15 Ben Foden16 Mike Brown 17 Will Burke 18 Jonas Petrakopoulos 19 Robert Irimescu 20 Julio César Giraldo 21 Mike Petri 22 Harry Bennett 23 Mark O’Keeffe