The Utah Warriors beat the New England Free Jacks 39-33 on February 15 at Sam Boyd Stadium that was part of MLR Vegas Weekend. The match was broadcast on Eleven Sports and for international viewers, on the Major League Facebook page live. It will also be broadcast on NESN tape delay on Feb. 16 at 5 pm ET.
Next week the 1-1 Utah Warriors travel to Austin to meet the Gilgronis, while New England 1-1 faces San Diego Legion in San Diego the next day.
Utah Warriors vs New England Free Jacks Match Recap
Utah kicked off to begin the match and after a Free Jacks clearance kick, attacked from a lineout at the Free Jacks 22-meters. A penalty had the Warriors mauling after a lineout 5-meters from in-goal, however, the ball was lost a meter out, which allowed Liam Steel to clear.
The Warriors entered the New England 22-meters and a chip ahead by Hagen Schulte gave up possession and allowed the Free jacks to clear.
The Warriors showed early forward dominance and the Free jacks were penalized again. After another penalty, New England was warned about the repeat infractions. Utah flyhalf Hagen Schulte then slotted a penalty goal for a 3-0 lead.
The Free Jacks elected to kick for the corner after a Warriors penalty instead of kicking for points. They attacked from a lineout 5-meters out with Mitch Wilson offloading to Deion Mikesell for the try to take a 5-3 lead as the conversion attempt bounced off the left upright.
The Warriors had the Free Jacks on their back foot in the scrum with Dwayne Polataivao going blind and was tackled into touch. A penalty advantage gave Utah a lineout 5-meters out, but the Free Jacks created a turnover and cleared again.
Thomas Tu’avao countered with a break and after several phases, a Gannon Moore break in the wide channel kept the pressure on New England. A scrum penalty on Utah foiled the Warriors points attempt again.
The Utah Warriors reclaimed the lead after the Free Jacks were penalized for a breakdown infraction as Schulte slotted another kick, 6-5.
Fets Vainikola went blindside from a Warriors’ lineout from midfield and evaded defenders for a try in the left corner with Schulte adding the extras to lead 13-5.
New England answered back from a lineout and multiple pick ‘n goes with Josh Larsen diving over for the try and Guillimin converting to cut the lead to 13-12.
New England struck first in the second half with a Poland run and then an offload wide to Poasa Waqanibau for a try with Guilliman slotting to retake the lead, 19-13.
The Free jacks then exploded with a break from Poland at the lineout and offloading inside to Deion Mikesell for a bonus point try under the posts. Guillimin added the extras to push the lead to 26-13.
Brad Hemopo was sent to the bin for repeat infractions as he entered from the side at the breakdown. Utah elected to attack from a 5-meter scrum and after a third Free Jacks penalty, Dwayne Polotaivao scored from the blind side of the scrum to cut the lead to 26-18 after Schulte’s kick was wide.
The Warriors continued their momentum before a handling error within 5-meters of the in-goal allowed the Free jacks to relieve the pressure.
The Utah Warriors countered with a long break by Gannon Moore. The Free Jacks were penalized again for a deliberate knock-on and Poasa Waqanibau was sent to the bin. The Warriors attacked from a lineout and after several phases, Josh Whippy executed a behind the back pass to Hagen Schulte for a try in the right corner. He then slotted the conversion to cut the lead to 26-25.
A Utah counter ruck led to a chip and chase with Gannon Moore and a penalty led to a try by Saia Uhila to retake the lead 32-26 after a successful conversion.
A Schulte dummy and chip and chase led to a 5-meter scrum to the Warriors. The Warriors exchanged their front row and were pinged for a scrum infraction and the Free Jacks cleared. Gannon Moore countered with a long break and offloaded to Josh Whippy to Michael Baska for a try with Schulte slotting the conversion to likely seal the match 39-26.
With only two minutes left, the Free Jacks will look to add another try for a losing bonus point. The Free jacks did just that with a try by Mitch Wilson in the left corner which was converted by Timothée Guillimin to cut the lead to 39-33.
New England had one last attack, but a turnover allowed them to kick to touch for the win.
Utah Warriors’ Hagen Schulte was named Man of the Match.
The Utah Warriors picked leveled their record to 1-1 with a bonus-point win for five points in the standings. The Free Jacks record fell to 1-1, but they picked up two bonus points and now have seven on the season.
Squads with Player Article Links & Match Preview
Utah Warriors: 1 Franco Van Den Berg 2 Veremalua Vugakoto 3 Angus MacLellan 4 John Cullen 5 Matt Jensen 6 Bailey Wilson 7 Thomas Tu’avao 8 Jurie Van Vuuren 9 Dwayne Polataivao (C) 10 Hagen Schulte 11 Fetu’u Vainikola 12 Blake Hohaia 13 Calvin Whiting 14 Gannon Moore 15 Josh Whippy 16 Ricky Tu’ihalagingie 17 Huluholo Mo’ungaloa 18 Kalolo Tuiloma 19 Viliami Puna Vuli 20 Saia Uhila 21 Michael Baska 22 Robbie Povey 23 Tyler Fisher
New England Free Jacks: 1 2 Sean McNulty 3 Donald Brighouse 4 Jackson Thiebes 5 Thomas Tu’avao 6 Naulia Dawai 7 Zack Stryffeler 8 Brad Hemopo 9 John Poland10 Timothée Guillimin 11 Deion Mikesell 12 Sam Beard 13 Liam Steel 14 Poasa Waqanibau15 Mitch Wilson 16 Steve Hinshaw 17 Kyle Ciquera18 Quentin Newcomer 19 Conor Kindregan 20 Owen Hundt 21Erik Thompson 22 Peceli Rinakama 23 Danny Collins