Rugby ATL hosts Rugby United New York on Sunday, April 11 at 3 pm at Lupo Family Field in Marietta, Georgia. The match will be broadcast on CBS Sports Network and streamed internationally on The Rugby Network, as well as available domestically 24 hours later.
Rugby ATL tops the Eastern Conference standings with a 2-1 record and 10 points. Rugby United New York comes off a bye week with a 1-1 record, 6 points, and is the only team remaining in the league to have played two matches.
After yesterday’s results, where the Toronto Arrows and NOLA Gold both lost, and it was a bye week for the New England Free Jacks and Old Glory DC, the match today could determine who tops the Eastern Conference standings after week 4.
Rugby ATL Head Coach Scott Lawrence has had his own challenges of melding a team together which has had injuries, as well as later player arrivals due to the visa approval process.
Scott has made six changes in the starters from last week’s win over San Diego Legion. Te Rangatira Waitokia was injured last week and is out of this week’s match roster along with Chance Wenglewski, Conor Keys, Connor Cook, and Eamonn Matthews. Alex Maughan and Manasa Saulo will be the props with Jason Damm at No.8. Rowan Gouws returns at scrumhalf, Martini Talapusi slides into the inside center, pushing Robbie Petzer to the outside center, and Zander Van Schalkwyk is right-wing.
Reserve changes include Ross Deacon, who returns to the roster since week one after recovering from an illness. Adriaan Carelse, who is a flyhalf/fullback, is a recent arrival from South Africa and played with the Toyota Cheetahs.
The team will have front-row replacements available with Neethling Gericke at hooker, and former RUNY props, Jonas Petrakopoulos and Will Burke. Vili Helu joins Ross Deacon as back-row replacements, Ryan Rees is a scrumhalf, and Jeremy Misailegalu provides cover at center or wing.
Rugby United New York Coach Marty Veale has made three changes in his starters from week two. Zak Taulafo returns to tighthead prop with Samu Tawake moving to the reserves. USA National Team lock, Nick Civetta, pairs with his Eagle teammate, Nate Brakeley. With Evan Mintern not on the roster, Ben Bonasso gets his first MLR start at blindside flanker, with Hanco Germishuys and Kara Pryor moving to openside flanker and No.8, respectively.
In the reserves, former Eagle wing Luke Hume will see his first rugby action since the knee injury he sustained in the 2019 MLR semifinal against San Diego.
The reserves will have two international replacements in Wilton Rebolo and Samu Tawake at hooker and tighthead prop, respectively. Wilton has played all three front row positions internationally for Brazil. Charlie Hewitt, who is eligible to represent the USA National Team, moves to the reserves this week with Civetta’s arrival.
Other reserves include Anthony Parry at loosehead prop, Rob Irimescu at either flanker or hooker, Conor McManus at scrumhalf, and Harry Bennett at flyhalf. Hume can cover either wing or fullback.
Rugby United New York is coming off a bye week and has had previous success in the Snake Pit last year, a 22-19 win. The team will need to penetrate the team’s strong pressure defense, but with RUNY moving the ball quickly, and using tactical kicking, the team expects to be up for the challenge.
Squads with Player Article Links
Rugby United New York: 1 James Rochford 2 Dylan Fawsitt (c) 3 Zak Taulafo 4 Nate Brakeley 5 Nick Civetta 6 Ben Bonasso7 Hanco Germishuys 8 Kyra Pryor 9 Andy Ellis 10 Dan Hollinshead 11 Apensia Cakaubalavu 12 Will Leonard 13 Fa’asiu Fuatai 14 Quinn Ngawati 15 Ben Foden 16 Wilton Rebolo 17 Anthony Parry 18 Samu Tawake 19 Charlie Hewitt 20 Rob Iramescu 21 Conor McManus 22 Harry Bennett 23 Luke Hume
Rugby ATL: 1 Alex Maughan 2 Marko Janse Van Rensburg 3 Manasa Saulo 4 Marno Redinghuys 5 Johan Momsen 6 Daemon Torres 7 Matt Heaton (c) 8 Jason Damm 9 Rowan Gouws 10 Bautista Ezcurra11 Mark O’Keeffe 12 Martini Talapusi 13 Robbie Petzer14 Zander Van Schalkwyk 15 Rory van Vugt 16 Neethling Gericke 17 Jonas Petrakopoulos 18 Will Burke 19 Vili Helu 20 Ross Deacon 21 Ryan Rees 22 Jeremy Misailegalu 23 Adriaan Carelse