Rugby New York host the New England Free Jacks in their 2022 Major League Rugby home opener on Sunday, March 6 at JFK Stadium in Hoboken, New Jersey. The kickoff is at 3 pm ET and tickets are available. The match is being streamed on The Rugby Network.
The teams will meet three times this season with Rugby New York hosting the first two matches (March 6, April 24) and the Free Jacks the last, June 3.
Rugby New York enters the match undefeated with a 3-0 record, all on the road, and entered week 5 in first place in the Eastern Conference with 14 points. The New England Free Jacks 2-1 and are in third place with 10 points.
Rugby ATL played on Saturday and with a 29-22 win over the Houston SaberCats to move into first place with a 3-1 record and 16 points. A win by Rugby New York over the Free Jacks would have New York returning to first place.
Last week Rugby New York dominated the match against the Dallas Jackals, winning 41-5., while the Free Jacks lost 19-14 to the LA Giltinis.
Rugby New York
Rugby New York has been among the best teams in Major League Rugby winning on the road. The team began the season gaining three road wins and enter their home opener as the only undefeated team in the Eastern Conference.
Rugby New York is strong in the set pieces and scores often from mauls. Their defense creates turnovers, especially in the breakdown, and is stellar when the team defends its territory within the 22-meters.
Look for a fast-paced match with the team attacking the wide channels. Ed Fidow is among the MLR scoring leaders with 3 tries in two matches and comes into the match after being rested last week.
Marty Veale has made six changes in the starters with Chance Wenglewski and Dylan Fawsitt returning to the front row at loosehead prop and hooker, respectively. Joe Basser and Ben Bonasso are the flankers with Brendon O’Connor shifting to eight-man. Fasi Fuatai returns at the outside center with Ed Fidow on the left-wing.
In the reserves, Ishmail Shabazz, a center, could make his MLR debut.
Last week, Kalolo Tuiloma, Pago Haini, and Sam Windsor were named to the MLR week 4 First XV.
New England Free Jacks
The Free Jacks have made four changes in the starters since last week’s loss to the LA Giltiinis. Alex Johnston returns to the matchday 23 at loosehead prop, with Tevita Sole at tighthead and Foster DeWitt shifting from loosehead to hooker. John Poland returns at scrumhalf and Wayne Van Der Bank slots in as the outside center with Jack Reeves shifting to right-wing with Paula Balekana rested.
The Free Jacks are strong defensively, utilizing excellent line speed. They are at their best in transition when attacking. Rugby New York will need to win the breakdown and minimize direct kicks to backs, which can launch counterattacks. Beaudein Waaka is a player to watch with his elusive play and Joe Johnston at the breakdown.
Squads with Player Article Links
Rugby New York: 1 Chance Wenglewski 2 Dylan Fawsitt 3 Kalolo Tuiloma 4 Nate Brakeley (C) 5 Will Tucker 6 Joe Basser 7 Ben Bonasso 8 Brendon O’Connor 9 Connor Buckley 10 Sam Windsor 11 Ed Fidow 12 Jason Emery 13 Faasiu Fuatai14 Andrew Coe 15 Jack Heighton 16 Wilton Rebolo 17 Sak Taulafo18 Nic Mayhew 19 Charlie Hewitt 20 Pago Haini 21 Andy Ellis 22 Ismail Shabazz 23 Quinn Ngawati
New England Free Jacks: 1 Alex Johnston 2 Foster DeWitt 3 Tevita Sole4 Josh Larsen (C.) 5 Stan van den Hoven 6 Joe Johnston 7 Slade McDowall 8 Terrell Peita 9 John Poland10 Beaudein Waaka 11 Harry Barlow 12 Le Roux Malan 13 Wayne van der Bank 14 Jack Reeves 15 Mitch Wilson 16 Pieter Jansen 17 Kyle Ciquera 18 Erich de Jager 19 Reegan O’Gorman 20 Cam Davidowicz 21 Holden Yungert 22 Harrison Boyle 23 Mills Sanerivi
Rugby New York
- Houston SaberCats 7-10 Rugby New York
- Rugby ATL 31-36 Rugby New York
- Dallas Jackals 5-41 Rugby New York
New England Free Jacks
- NOLA Gold 13-24 New England Free Jacks
- Old Glory DC 25-41 New England Free Jacks
- LA Giltinis 19-14 New England Free Jacks