Rugby ATL Opens MLR Season Beating Utah Warriors

Rugby ATL came back to beat the Utah Warriors 28-19 on Sunday, February 9 at Lupo Field at Life University in their home opener of the Major League Rugby season. The match was on ESPN+.

Rugby ATL will travel to New Orleans for a match against NOLA Gold on February 16. The Utah Warriors will host the New England Free Jacks at Sam Boyd Stadium on February 15 as part of the MLR Vegas Weekend.

Match Recap

The Utah Warriors struck first with two penalty goals by Hagen Schulte after Rugby ATL were penalized for multiple infractions to lead 6-0.

Rugby ATL used quick ball movement going near in-goal before making a penalty goal by Duncan Van Schalkwyk to cut the lead to 6-3.

Another offsides penalty had Utah’s Hagen Schulte slot a 45-meter kick to push the lead back to six, 9-3.

Rugby ATL attacked from a lineout deep inside Warriors’ territory but was held up in-goal for a 5-meter scrum. Utah’s scrum had Rugby ATL on its back foot and cleared after the penalty for a lineout. The penalties kept mounting as a Rugby ATL player made contact with a Utah player while in the air. This gave the Warriors a chance to attack inside Tugby ATL’s 22-meters and resulted in a Blake Hohaia try. Schulte slotted the extras to lead 16-3.

Rugby ATL worked the wide channels going through multiple phases and then kicked to touch for a lineout 5-meters outs after a penalty. They then mauled over for a try by Conor Keys to cut the lead to 16-8 as the conversion was wide.

The lead held up and the Utah Warriors went in the break with an 8 point lead.

The first half saw tactically kicking from both sides with the Warriors having an edge in the scrums. Rugby ATL had discipline issues and Utah capitalized with three penalty goals and a converted try. Rugby ATL used a penalty to score a try and a penalty goal.

Second Half

The second half saw Utah extending its lead to 19-8 after a penalty goal by Schulte.

In the 55th minute, a yellow card to Saia “Uhila resulted in Rugby ATL’s Ross Deacon scoring from a scrum to cut the lead to 19-13. An offload by Johan Momsen to Marco Redelinghuys for a try and a conversion by Kurt Coleman gave the team their first lead, 20-19.

A Duncan Van Schalkwyk try and a Kut Coleman penalty goal earned Rugby ATL a come back 28-19 win over the Utah Warriors in their inaugural opening match in Major League Rugby.

Squads with Player Article Links & Match Preview

Rugby ATL: 1 Chance Wenglewski 2 Alex Maughan 3 Duane Aholelei 4 Johan Momsen 5 Conor Keys 6 Marno Redelinghuys 7 Matt Heaton (CC) 8 Ross Deacon 9 Duncan Van Schalkwyk 10 Kurt Coleman 11 Harley Wheeler 12 Ryan Nell (CC) 13 Jeremy Misailegalu 14 Harley Davidson 15 Rory Van Vugt 16 Amro Gouda 17 Jamie Ferrante 18 Julian Montes 19 Jason Damm 20 Stefan Willemse 21Austin White  22 Kurtis Werner 23 Martini Talapusi

Utah Warriors: 1 Franco Van Den Berg 2 Veremalua Vugakoto 3 Angus MacLellan 4 John Cullen 5 Matt Jensen 6 Bailey Wilson 7 Saia Uhila (VC) 8 Jurie Van Vuuren 9 Dwayne Polataivao (C) 10 Hagen Schulte 11 Calvin Whiting 12 Blake Hohaia 13 Tyler Fisher14 Gannon Moore 15 Josh Whippy 16 Ricky Tu’ihalagingie 17 Huluholo Mo’ungaloa 18 Kalolo Tuiloma 19 Viliami Puna Vuli 20 Charlie Hola 21 Michael Baska 22 Fetu’u Vainikola 23 Robbie Povey

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