Rugby United New York beat Rugby ATL 31-24 at Bolson Stadium on St. John’s University on Sunday, June 13 to sweep the series between the MLR Eastern Conference top two teams. The match was broadcast on MSG and streamed on The Rugby Network.
After week 13, Rugby ATL tops the Eastern Conference with an 8-4 record and 41 points, with Rugby United New York second with an 8-3 record and 39 points. New England and NOLA Gold follow with 34 points, Old Glory 27, and Toronto 23.
Prior to the match, Old Blue defeated NYAC 39-14 to win the Big Apple Cup, a competition that also included White Plains and New York Rugby Club.
Rugby United New York struck first after a linebreak by Dylan Fawsitt, who sliced through defenders before offloading to Andy Ellis, who finished with a try under the posts to lead 7-0.
Rugby ATL’s hooker Marko Janse van Rensburg stretched out over the right corner with Andy Ellis holding him up for a 5-meter scrum. The Ratlers swung the ball wide left to Mark O’Keeffe, and soon after an offload bounced with Harry Bennett picking and clearing. Atlanta attacked from a lineout with Ross Deacon offloading to Jason Damm, who barrelled over for a try to cut the lead to 7-5.
New York answered with a counterattack by Api Cakaubalavu, who outspace the defenders, before offloading to Kara Pryor for a try in the left corner, 12-5.
The match was a heavyweight battle and the Ratlers took out Andy Ellis with a high tackle, where he turned his ankle and needed to be removed from the match in the 28th minute with Conor McManus making an early appearance. A card was not issued and Harry Bennet kicked to touch. A penalty advantage later, New York struck from another lineout with Kyle Sumsion finishing with a try from close range, 17-5. The conversion by Chris Mattina was then deflected by a Mark O’Keeffe charge.
A clearance kick from Ben Foden went deep to Jeremy Misailegalu and after several phases and a New York infraction, Rugby ATL attacked from a lineout 5-meters from in-goal. Johan Momsen cut the lead with a try, which was converted by Adriaan Carelse, 17-12.
Neither team added points prior to the break.
RUNY would score first in the second half, after a Kara Pryor lineout grab, with Fa’asiu Fuatai offloading inside to Conor McManus for a try under the posts, 24-12. This was the fourth try for New York and gained them a bonus point in the standings.
Rugby ATL pressed with a lineout following an offsides penalty by New York. After Jason Damm gathered the throw, the ball went wide right with Bautista Ezcurra dotting down bring the Ratlers within 7 points, 24-17.
The ensuing restart went to Misailegalu, but a offload was telegraphed and James Rochford intercepted and scored under the posts, 31-17.
Rugby ATL battled back with Marno Redinghuys held up in the right corner giving the Ratlers a 5-meter scrum. After a New York penalty, Alex Maughan gave Rugby ATL their own bonus point for the team’s fourth try and after Carelse’s conversion the score was 31-24.
A clearance kick by Carlese failed to find touch and Ben Foden grubbed the ball into touch for the win.
Dylan Fawsitt was the Man of the Match for New York and the MLR try of the week went to Rugby United New York.
@rugbyunitedny earned the @RhinoRugbyUSA Try of the Week for an impressive run by Apenisa Cakaubalavu, and completed by Kara Pryor for the try!
🎥 Watch more highlights from this weekend: https://t.co/Z0fiKZ1v6h
🏉 #MLR2021 | @RhinoRugbyUSA pic.twitter.com/3A3NqhkJC4
— Major League Rugby (@usmlr) June 14, 2021
On Saturday, June 19, Rugby United New York will face the Western Conference second place Utah Warriors, who came back to defeat San Diego Legion in the final minute. Rugby ATL hosts the Houston SaberCats that same day.
Squads with Player Article Links & Match Preview
Rugby United New York: 1 James Rochford 2 Dylan Fawsitt 3 Samu Tawake 4 Nate Brakeley 5 Evan Mintern 6 Kyle Sumsion 7 Ben Bonasso 8 Kyra Pryor 9 Andy Ellis (c) 10 Harry Bennett 11 Apenisa Cakaubalavu 12 Quinn Ngawati 13 Fa’asiu Fuatai 14 Chris Mattina 15 Ben Foden 16 Rob Irimescu 17 Anthony Parry 18 Wilton Rebolo 19 Charlie Hewitt 20 Hanco Germishuys 21 Conor McManus 22 Will Leonard 23 Joel Miranda
Rugby ATL: 1 Chance Wenglewski 2 Makko Janse Van Rensburg 3 Wikus Groenewald 4 Johan Momsen 5 Conor Keys 6 Connor Cook 7 Ross Deacon 8 Jason Damm 9 Ryan Rees 10 Adriaan Carelse 11 Mark O’Keeffe 12 Bautista Ezcurra 13 Te Rangatira Waitokia 14 Jeremy Misailegalu 15 Rory Van Vugt (C)16 Alex Maughan17 Jonas Petrakopoulos 18 Manasa Saulo 19 Marno Redinghuys 20 Vili Helu 21 Robbie Petzer 22 Sam Cowley 23 Duncan van Schalkwyk
Remaining MLR Eastern Conference Schedule
It is crunch time with only 4 matches remaining for Rugby ATL and 5 for New York. New England also has 4 matches with NOLA Gold having 5 remaining on the road.
Rugby United New York’s remaining schedule includes Utah Warriors (H-June 19), Toronto Arrows (A-June 27), New England (A-July3), Houston (H-July10), and NOLA Gold (H-July17).
Rugby ATL’s remaining matches include Houston (H-June 19), Old Glory (H-June26), Bye (July 3/4), Utah Warriors (A-July 10), and New England (A-July 18).
New England faces NOLA Gold (H-June 26), RUNY (H-July 3), Toronto (A-July 11), and Rugby ATL (H-July 18).
NOLA Gold has road matches follow against Toronto (June 19), New England (June 26), LA (July 4), Seattle (July 11), and RUNY (July 17).
Both Old Glory and the Toronto Arrows, although not out officially from the playoffs yet, could still player a spoiler role.
Old Glory DC schedule includes Rugby ATL (A-June 26) after a bye week (June 19/20), Toronto (A-July 4), San Diego (H-July 10), and Austin (H-July 17).
Toronto finishes their season with matches against Austin (A-June 12), NOLA Gold (H-June 19), RUNY (H-June 27), Old Glory (H-July 4), and conclude their season with New England (H-July 11).
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