Rugby ATL scored early and then fought back as Rugby United New York claimed a 22-19 win on Sunday, February 23 at Life University.
Rugby ATL entered the week three in second place in the Eastern Conference with a 2-0 record and 9 points after wins against the Utah Warriors and NOLA Gold. Rugby United New York had a 1-1 record after playing two matches in the MLR Vegas Weekend. They opened with a loss to the New England Free jacks and beat the Austin Gilgronis.
Rugby ATL vs Rugby United New York Match Recap
After ensuing taking two early penalty goal attempt, Rugby ATL lineouts resulted in turnovers. Rugby ATL struck first in the 14th minute from a chip ahead with Zander Van Schalkwyk taking the inside bounce for a try with Coleman adding the extras for a 7-0 lead.
After a maul and an offload from Cathal Marsh, Ben Foden split the gap in the defense for a try near the right corner to cut the lead to 7-5. Marsh then missed his first conversion in 8 attempts for the season.
Following a dangerous tackle on Mathieu Bastareaud with a penalty advantage for Rugby ATL being offsides, RUNY kicked to touch and mauled. The Roosters attacked from a scrum after time was taken by the referee to check on a Rugby ATL scrum-half Duncan Van Schalkwyk’s potential injury. The Roosters then mauled from a lineout 5-meters from in-goal and after a few picks, James Denise grounded for a try, with Marsh converting to take a 12-7 lead.
The Roosters applied pressure to Rugby ATL with expansive rugby moving the ball side to side. After a grubber ahead by Connor Wallace-Sims, Atlanta cleared a Ben Foden counterattacked with two strong runs by Kyle Sumsion before losing the ball forward on contact inside Rugby ATL’s 22-meters. This allowed Atlanta to clear after winning their scrum.
The Roosters countered from a lineout at midfield and following several phases, Connor Wallace-Sims kicked ahead giving the ball back to Atlanta for a lineout inside their 22-meters. The ball was turned over to RUNY with Dylan Fawsitt chipping ahead and Mark O’Keeffe gathering the ball for the Roosters’ third try. Marsh then added the extras to lead 19-7 at the break.
After Rugby ATL scored first, the Roosters have scored 19 unanswered points. RUNY will be looking to keep their momentum in the second half and add a bonus point try early in the second half to control the match. Rugby ATL will need to break that momentum quickly if they want to continue their unbeaten record.
Following a RUNY scrum, Rugby ATL was pinged for an early shove. The Roosters went through multiple phases and then attacked from a scrum again. A turnover ensued and then the teams traded kicks.
A RUNY penalty had Rugby ATL kicking to touch with a lineout about 7 meters from in-goal. The Roosters were penalized again and mauled. Coleman attempted a chip to the right corner, but a penalty advantage had Paddy Ryan sent to the bin. Kirkland Hamilton entered the front row on the ensuing scrum and Johan Momsen dove over the line with Coleman converting to cut the lead to 19-14.
Rugby ATL was pinged and Harry Bennett came on to attempt a 45-meter penalty goal that was wide right. Rugby ALT claimed a short 22-meter drop and cleared.
RUNY went blind from a lineout with Bastareaud powering 15-meters. The Rooster attack stalled at ATL’s 22-meters as a knock-on resulted in a scrum. Rugby ATL quickly turned the ball over and RUNY went through several phases before stepping into touch.
After back and forth play, Rugby ATL launched a counterattack with Momsen advancing deep inside RUNY territory. An infraction, however, had the Roosters’ escaping danger. Another Atlanta penalty had the Roosters advancing to ATL’s 22-meters, but a loose ball after a lineout and penalty led to an ATL lineout. Again the ball was turned over with Basta picking up the loose ball.
Rugby ATL cleared from a lineout and RUNY countered with a run by Connor Wallace-Sims, before an ATL penalty resulted in a RUNT lineout 12-meters out. A turnover was cleared and Connor Wallace-Sims weaved his way through defenders. The ball went back and forth between the teams and Cathal Marsh slotted a penalty goal to lead 22-14 with six minutes remaining.
Rugby ATL will need two scores to win and one to gain a losing bonus point. The Roosters would also like to gain a bonus point by scoring another try.
A Rugby ATL break had a scoring chance cut short when the ball went into touch. This had the Roosters claiming to pull down a lineout and clear. A no-wrap tackle had ATL taking a lineout at the RUNY 22-meters. A few phases and ATL was held up for a Roosters’ scrum in the 80th minute. A free-kick to ATL resulted. ATL attacked in close for about two minutes before swinging the ball wide for a Zander Van Schalkwyk brace. Martin Talapusi’s conversion attempt bounced off the right upright.
The late try by Rugby ATL gave the team a losing bonus point. Rugby United New York claimed a 22-19 win with both teams having a 2-1 record. Rugby ATL is in third place with 10 points, while RUNT is in fourth place with 9 points in the very competitive Eastern Conference.
Undefeated Toronto leads the Eastern Conference with a 3-0 record and 13 points, NOLA Gold is 2-1 with 10 points, with RUNY, Rugby ATL, and Old Glory DC with 9 points with point differential separating the teams. The 1-1 New England Free jacks face San Diego Legion away in the remaining week 3 MLR match and have 7 points.
Next Sunday Rugby ATL hosts the Toronto Arrows and Rugby United New York travels to Houston to play the SaberCats in the CBSSN game of the week.
Squads with Player Article Links & Match Preview
Rugby ATL: 1 Chance Wenglewski 2 Alex Maughan 3 Cronan Gleeson 4 Stefan Willemse 5 Conor Keys 6 Jason Damm 7 Harry Higgins 8 Bill Fukofuka 9 Duncan Van Schalkwyk 10 Kurt Coleman 11 Austin White 12 Ryan Nell (C) 13 Sean Coughlan 14 Zander Van Schalkwyk 15 Rory Van Vugt 16 Amro Gouda 17 Jamie Ferrante 18 Julian Montes 19 Johan Momsen 20 Ross Deacon 21 Kurtis Werner 22 Martini Talapusi 23 Harley Wheeler
Rugby United New York: 1 James Rochford 2 Dylan Fawsitt 3 Paddy Ryan 4 Charlie Hewitt 5 Nate Brakeley 6 Kyle Sumsion 7 James Denise 8 Mathieu Bastareaud 9 Marcus Walsh 10 Cathal Marsh 11Connor Wallace-Sims 12 Chris Mattina 13 Troy Lockyear14 Mark O’Keeffe15 Ben Foden16 Mike Brown 17 Anthony Parry 18 Kirkland Hamilton 19 Robert Irimescu 20 Hanco Germishuys 21 Mike Petri 22 Harry Bennett 23 Quentin Pradere