MLR Rivalry Match: Rugby United New York vs New England Free Jacks

Rugby United New York faces New England Free Jacks in a Major League Rugby Eastern Conference match on Sunday, May 23 at 4 pm ET at Cochrane Stadium in Jersey City, N.J. The match will be broadcast on CBS Sports and internationally on The Rugby Network. For tickets, click here!

Preceding the match at 1:30 pm will be a Rugby United New York U23 Academy match against the New England Free Jacks Academy U23s.

Both teams come into the match after an away loss and will be looking to rebound. Rugby United New York lost 16-9 to Austin Gilgronis, while New England lost 33-18 to Rugby ATL.

The Eastern Conference after week 9 is tight with only 6 points separating first place Rugby ATL (5-3, 26 points) and Old Glory at #6 (3-4-1, 20 points). Rugby United New York is in second place with a  5-3 record has 24 points and faces fifth-place New England Free Jacks (4-4, 21).

This week (#10), Toronto has a bye, while NOLA Gold hosts Utah Warriors and Houston SaberCats hosts Old Glory DC on Saturday. On Sunday, RUNY hosts New England, while Rugby ATL travels to Seattle to face the Seawolves.

Rugby United New York Head Coach Marty Veale has made five changes in the starters from last week’s loss to Austin Gilgronis. Forwards changes include Samu Tawake at tighthead prop for Sak Taulafo, who is rested, and Ben Bonasso for Kyra Pryor at openside flanker, with Kara shifting to the reserves. Backs changes include Harry Bennett for Dan Hollinshead at flyhalf, Apenisa Cakaubalavu returning to the starts at left-wing, shifting Quinn Ngawati to the reserves. Ben Foden, who has had a stellar season so fat, returns at fullback.

With the internationals on the horizon, Rob Irimescu will likely see matchday action at hooker, and Kyle Sumsion returns the roster to provide coverage either at lock or in the back row.

New England Free jacks Ryan Martin has kept his starters in tack from the loss against Rugby ATL. He has made two changes in the reserves, both who are new additions to the team.

Ewan Brumwell played flyhalf and center for the Harbour Hawks and Otago Rugby in New Zealand and the Manly Marlins in Australia. Tuidraki Samusamuvodre was originally signed by the Dallas Jackals but became a free agent when the team postponed their entry to the league until 2022. Tuidraki plays flyhalf, and was included in the flying Fijians Autumn Nations Cup squad for 2020, but did not play against Georgia. he has played for the Fijian Drua, and the Fijian Latui teams, as well as for Naitasiri Highlanders and Nadi Rugby.

New York plays an up-tempo expansive game, moving the ball wide and quickly from the breakdown. They have a statistical edge over the Free Jacks in the scrums with 91.53% won over New England’s 79.37%. In the lineouts, a slight edge goes to New England with 123 won, while New York has 116.

Lineouts will feature Nick Civetta at 6’8″ is a primary target for New York with Nate Brakeley, 6’5″, and Ben Bonasso 6’4″, secondary ones. Jackson Thiebes and Josh Larson, who are both 6’5″, are targets for the Free Jacks.

RUNy is at the top of their game when a defender makes an unassisted tackle which allows another player to poach the ball at the breakdown. New York has been successful, but New England has an edge in turnover tackles and in turnovers won.

New York is dangerous on attack with a large edge in tackles broken, as well as offloads. This should help the team find gaps in the defense and lead to tries. The Free Jacks will not make this easy as the team also has excellent line speed, like New York, in defense.

With any rivalry match, expect the players to leave everything that they have on the pitch. It will be a hot, humid day with temperatures in the 90s, so the teams will be depending on their reserves to finish what is expected to be a very fast-paced match.

The referee for the match is Scott Green (Austin, USA) and the Assistant Referees are Luke Rogan and Miles McIvor, who are both from the USA.

Squads with Player Article Links

Rugby United New York: 1 James Rochford 2 Dylan Fawsitt 3 Samu Tawake 4 Nate Brakeley 5 Nick Civetta 6 Hanco Germishuys 7 Ben Bonasso  8 Evan Mintern 9 Andy Ellis (c) 10 Harry Bennett 11 Apenisa Cakaubalavu 12 Will Leonard 13 Fa’asiu Fuatai 14  Joel Miranda 15 Ben Foden 16 Rob Irimescu 17 Anthony Parry 18 Wilton Rebolo 19 Kyle Sumsion 20 Kyra Pryor 21 Conor McManus 22 Quinn Ngawati 23 Chris Mattina

New England Free Jacks:  1 Quentin Newcomer 2 Pieter Jansen  3 Erich de Jager 4 Josh Larsen (c) 5 Jackson Thiebes 6 Justin Johnson 7 Joe Johnston 8 Wian Conradie 9 John Poland 10 Harrison Boyle 11 Harry Barlow 12 Aleki Morris Lome 13 Dougie Fife 14 Poasa Waqanibau 15 Beaudein Waaka (VC) 16 Vili Toluta’u 17 Spencer Krueger 18 Kyle Ciquera19 Tera Mtembu 20 Evan Geist 21 Tom Brusati 22 Ewan Brumwell 23 Tuidraki Samusamuvodre

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North American Rugby News With A USA Slant