Rugby New York Prevails Over Rugby ATL

Rugby New York traveled to Silverbacks Park, Atlanta, Georgia on Saturday, February 19, and exited with a 36-31 win. The match was a rematch of the teams that met in the 2021 Eastern Conference Final and was streamed on The Rugby Network.

With the loss, Rugby ATL’s record drops to 2-1 record, but their two bonus points top the Eastern Conference with 11 points in the standings. They began the season with a 55-22 win over Old Glory DC and followed with a 14-9 win over NOLA Gold last Saturday.

Rugby New York’s record improves to 2-0 as they began their second in week two with a 10-7 win over the Houston SaberCats. They remain in third place behind New England, which is 2-0, with 9 points. Both teams have a game in hand as they have only played two matches.

Rugby New York has a 4-1 lifetime record against Rugby ATL, with their only loss 10-9 in last year’s Eastern Conference Final.

Next week, Rugby ATL has a bye and they play the Houston  SaberCats at home on March 5 at 3 pm ET.

Rugby New York travels to Dallas to face the Jackals on February 26 at 8 pm ET. That will end their three-game road trip before their home opener on March 6 against the New England Free Jacks.

Match Recap

Rugby New York struck first with a penalty goal in the 4th minute by Sam Windsor to take a lead, 0-3.

Rugby ARL tried to answer back in the 12th minute, but the penalty attempt by Joaquin de la Vega Mendia was wide right.

A high ball by Rugby ATL was taken by Sam Windsor and moved to Ed Fidow, who broke down the left touch and then inside for a try under the posts, 0-10. (18′)

Rugby New York scored again four minutes later after an intercept by Andrew Coe for a try under the posts, 0-17. (23′)

Rugby  ATL answered right back after a quick tap after a New York penalty, with a try by Johan Momsen and a conversion by de la Vega Mendia, 7-17.

Rugby ATL appeared to score again after a Matt Heaton chip with Duncan Van Schalkwyk grounding in the right corner. A TMO review ruled that a Ross Deacon obstruction led to the attack and the try was voided.

Following an ATL penalty, Sam Windsor kicked for touch and after a 5-meter lineout, New York mauled with backs entering in support, as Dylan Fawsitt scored in the left corner. Sam Windsor slotted the conversion, 7-24.

After the restart, Rugby New York was under pressure from a 5-meter lineout in their territory. A loose ball occurred after the lineout and resulted in an Alex Maughan try, with de la Vega Mendia slotting the extras, 14-24.

Rugby ATL went through multiple phases after the ensuing restart and a Duncan Van Schalkwyk chip led to a Matt Heaton break, who offloaded to Will Leonard, who finished with a try, and a successful conversion by de la Vega Mendia, 21-24.

The momentum switched to Rugby ATL at the end of the first half and both teams would have their work cut out for them in the second half of this fast-paced and physical contest.

Second Half

The second half began with Rugby ATL continuing their momentum and Alex Maughan scored from a maul, with de la Vega Mendia converting, 28-24. This was the team’s third try in a row and gained a standings bonus point for their fourth try of the match.

After an Atlanta penalty at midfield, Rugby New York attacked with Ben Bonasso offloading to Troy Lockyear, whose break was continued by Ed Fidow, who drew in two defenders and passed inside to Jason Emery for a try under the posts, 28-31. This reclaimed the lead for New York and gave the team a standings bonus point for their fourth try.

New York added another try soon after with Brendon O’Connor offloading to Troy Lockyear for a try in the right corner, 28-36.

A New York turnover inside their 22-meters and a penalty advantage had Kurt Coleman slicing the lead with a penalty goal to close to within a try, 31-36.

The play was stopped in the 73rd minute after Rugby New York’s John Power was knocked out during a tackle attempt. The referee ruled that his leaving was due to an HIA which allowed Sam Windsor to return to the match in his place.

Rugby ATL had once last attack going through 11 phases before a knock-on thwarted their attack inside New York’s 22-meters. New York won their scrum and Windsor kicked into touch, giving Rugby ATL a lineout at New York’s 22-meters. A steal, however, had Rugby New York closing out the match with Sam Windsor kicking into touch for the 36-31 win.

Next week, Rugby ATL has a bye-week and will face the Houston SaberCats at home on March 5. Rugby New York travels to face the Dallas Jackals on February 26. In the tight Eastern Conference, Rugby New York will be looking to keep their unbeaten streak alive, before meeting the Free Jacks for their home opener on March 6.

Squads with Player Article Links & Match Preview

Rugby ATL: 1 Will Burke 2 Alex Maughan3 John Sullivan 4 Evan Mintern 5 Johan Momsen 6 Connor Cook 7 Matt Heaton (co-capt.) 8 Ross Deacon 9 Rowan Gouws 10 Duncan van Schalkwyk 11 Nolan Tuamoheloa 12 Will Leonard 13 Ryan Nell (co-capt.) 14 Austin White 15 Joaquín de la Vega Mendía 16 Marko Janse van Rensburg 17 Jonas Petrakopoulos 18 Wikus Groenewald 19 Justin Basson 20 Conor Keys 21 Vili Helu 22 Ryan Rees 23, Kurt Coleman

Rugby New York: 1 Chance Wenglewski  2 Dylan Fawsitt 3 Nic Mayhew 4 Nate Brakeley (capt) 5 Charlie Hewitt 6 Ben Bonasso 7 Brendon O’Connor 8 Kara Pryor 9 Connor Buckley 10 Sam Windsor 11Ed Fidow 12 Jason Emery 13 Faasiu Fuatai 14 Andrew  Coe 15 Troy Lockyear 16  Kaleb Geiger 17 Sak Taulafo 18 Wilton Rebolo 19 Will Tucker 20 Joe Basser 21 Andy Ellis 22 Jack Heighton 23 John Powers

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