Rugby New York’s flyhalf Jack Heighton Slotted a penalty goal in the 82nd minute to give New York a 26-23 win over San Diego Legion in a battle of second-place teams from opposing conferences on Sunday, March 13. The match was streamed on The Rugby Network and is available on replay, as well as, broadcast on Fox 5, San Diego.
At match time the temperature was 36 degrees Fahrenheit with a wind chill below freezing, which affected handling after crunching tackles from both sides.
Rugby New York struck first in the 11th minute with flyhalf Jack Heighton slotting a penalty goal, 3-0. Three minutes later it was the Legion’s fullback Joe Pietersen, who answered back with a boot. of his ow, 3-3.
Both Heighton and Pietersen traded penalty goals in the 27th and 29th minutes, 6-6, before Fasi Fuatai picked up a loose ball after a New York tackle and raced 65 meters for a try with Mike Smith in close pursuit and Ed Fidow following in support. Heighton slotted the extras, 13-6.
Rugby New York opened the second half kicking to the Legion with Will Hooley clearing. Andy Ellis stepped a defended and Jason Emery chipped ahead. After a Legion penalty, New York kicked for touch, but Freyre caught the ball and cleared. After a break by Kara Pryor, Tory Lockyear lost the ball forward during contact and Matias Freyre finished with Pietersen leveling the match at 13 all with his boot.
New York answered back with a try from short-range, which was set up by a fake by Andy Ellis. Heighton continued to be perfect on the day with the conversion, 20-13.
Two Rugby New York penalties can Pietersen changes at penalty goals. The first was missed, while the second was good, to cut the lead to 20-16.
Rugby New York attacked with Andy Ellis chipping ahead with Matias Freyre gathering and running up the left touch and offloading to Tiaan Loots, who passed over his head to Ben Mitchell, who did the same to Freyre for his second try. After Pietersen added the extras, San Diego led for the first time, 20-23.
Jack Heighton would add penalty goals in the 69th and 82nd minute for Rugby New York to edge San Diego Legion on the final play, 26-23.
Man of the Match honors went to Jack Heighton for his clutch kicking.
Next week both teams play away on Saturday, March 19 with Western Conference San Diego facing the LA Giltinis and Rugby New York traveling to New Orleans to meet NOLA Gold.
With the win, Rugby New York kept pace with Rugby ATL and the New England Free Jacks, who are all 4-1 in the Eastern Conference. ATL is in first place with 20 points, while New York and the Free Jacks with 19 points had to go to the 4th tiebreaker for New York to maintain second-place.
First was total wins (each 4), second point differential (each +38), third was total tries (each 19) and fourth was total tries minutes total tries conceded ( New York was +6, while New England +5).
Despite the loss, the Legion added a losing bonus point, having 21 points to Austin Gilronis 23. The battle for third is a tight one with Seattle and Houston with 3-3 records, having 16 and 15 points, respectively. Utah has 12, LA 9, and Dallas 4.
DJCoil Rugby Interviews
Look to view Dylan Fawsitt and Sam Windsor’s interviews
Interviews were also conducted with Dylan Fawsitt and Sam Windsor ahead of playing in their 50th MLR match. Both players will achieve that milestone the next time they play. Since Rugby New York’s next match is in New Orleans, both players were interviewed and will be published on March 17 early that morning on the DJCoil Rugby YouTube Channel, and will also appear on the webpage, under videos, professional rugby interviews.
Sam was a prematch scratch against San Diego Legion and was the first time that he missed an MLR match in five years.
Squads with Player Article Links & Match Preview
Rugby New York: 1 Chance Wenglewski 2 Dylan Fawsitt 3 Kalolo Tuiloma 4 Nate Brakeley (C) 5 Charlie Hewitt 6 Will Tucker 7 Brendon O’Connor 8 Kara Pryor 9 Andy Ellis 10 Jack Heighton 11 Ed Fidow 12 Jason Emery 13 Faasiu Fuatai 14 Andrew Coe 15 Troy Lockyear 16 Kaleb Geiger 17 Nic Mayhew 18 Wilton Rebolo19 Jon Grzeszczyk 20 Joe Basser 21 Conor McManus 22 Sam Windsor (late scratch) John Powers 23 Quinn Ngawati
SAN DIEGO LEGION 1 Nathan Sylvia 2 Matt Moulds 3 Hencus Van Wyk 4 Ben Mitchell 5 Ben Grant 6 Dan Pryor 7 Michael Smith 8 Tevita Tameilau (C) 9 Jason Higgins10 Will Hooley 11 Matías Freyre 12 Tiaan Loots 13 Thomas Morani 14 Kainoa Lloyd 15 Joe Pietersen 16 Pete Malcolm 17 Joe Walsh 18 Chris Baumann 19 Chris Robshaw 20 Rohan O’Regan 21 Nate Augspurger (C) 22 Josh Thiel 23 Marcus Tupuola
Rugby New York: Record 4-1
- Houston SaberCats 7-10 Rugby New York
- Rugby ATL 31-36 Rugby New York
- Dallas Jackals 5-41 Rugby New York
- Rugby New York 29-38 New England Free Jacks
- Rugby New York 26-23 San Diego Legion
San Diego Legion: Record 4-2
- San Diego Legion 31-29 Utah Warriors
- San Diego Legion 37-29 Dallas Jackals
- San Diego Legion 28-31 Seattle Seawolves
- Houston SaberCats 20-31 San Diego Legion
- San Diego Legion 24-12 Old Glory DC
- Rugby New York 26-23 San Diego Legion