Rugby New York came within meters of scoring with no time on the clock, but the New England Free Jacks survived with a 29-26 win. The match was broadcast on April 24 on Fox Sports 1 and streamed internationally on The Rugby Network. A replay will be available on The Rugby Network by the next day.
Both teams entered the match after a bye week and New England exited with a win to improve their Eastern Conference-leading record to 9-1 with 42 points. Rugby New York claimed two bonus points in the loss to hold onto third place with a 6-4 record and 32 points.
Rugby New York began the match playing inside New England territory for most of the first six minutes. After Slade McDowall dropped a ball, New York sent it left to Kara Pryor and then right with a Fasi Fuatai grub kick that was gathered by Brendon O’Connor and offloaded to Ed Fidow for a try. Hack heighten slotted the kick for a 7-0 lead.
The ensuing restart saw a New England charge down of a Heighton kick which resulted in a goal-line dropout. The Free jacks attacked within New York’s 22-meters and poached at the. breakdown with Lockyear clearing inside midfield.
A Free Jacks attack went through multiple phases, attacking inside New York’s 22-meters. New York was stellar on tackling with a Free jack forward pass resulting in a New York scrum. An Emerychip kick was gathered by Fidow, but a knock-on resulted in a Free Jacks scrum.
A few phases later, New York was penalized for being off his feet, which resulted in a Beaudein Waaka penalty goal to cut the lead to 7-3.
The restart saw Kara Pryor saving a loose ball from going into touch and New York attacked die left with a grub kick ahead bouncing into touch. Both teams traded kicks with the Free Jacks gaining territory with a 50/22 Free Jacks lineout. A knock on gave New York a scrum, in which the Free Jacks were quickly penalized allowing them to clear close to midfield.
After both teams had an attack, a New York penalty resulted in a Free Jacks lineout at New York’s 22 meters. Josh Larsen gathered, but a New England knock-on resulted in a New York scrum deep inside their territory. A Free Jacks penalty for a high tackle on Ellis by Conradie allowed New York to clear and attack from a lineout near midfield. The throw was not straight and resulted in a scrum to New England.
A Waaka high ball was taken by Harrison Boyle and fed to Paula Balekana for a try near the left corner with Waaka curling in the conversion to take a lead, 7-10.
A penalty soon after the restart from midfield had New England attacking from a lineout about 8 meters from in-goal. Beaudein Waaka chipped ahead and grounded in goal, and then added the extras, 7-17. Andy Ellis was sent to the bin on the play.
The Free Jacks had a strong attack with numerous offloads before Ed Fidow drove Poland into touch. New York was able to clear and a quick lineout by the Free jacks had them moving the ball inside New York’s 22-meters. A turnover allowed New York to clear, with New England attacking again to the New York’s 22-meters. A New York penalty in the 41st minute had the Free jacks ignoring a kick at posts and instead attacked from a lineout 5-meters out. The maul collapsed and both teams exited for the locker room.
The Free Jacks will begin the half knowing that New York would be down a man for the first six minutes.
The team scored two tries within four minutes late in the half to take a 17-7 lead. New York controlled the early possession and had an excellent scramble defense during the half. Counterattacks by New England placed New York under pressure later in the half, and that was all that was needed for the Free Jacks to capitalize.
New England began the second half attacking deep inside New York territory after a restart turnover. A Free Jacks turnover had Kara Pryor running from near in-goal with a knock-on giving New England the ball. The Free Jacks appeared to be on the verge of scoring, but a knock-on resulted in a New York scrum and a penalty. The Free jacks kicked to touch for a lineout, mauled, and went through short attacks before a New York penalty resulted in a New England 5-meter scrum.
New York’s defense held and resulted in a turnover 5-meter scrum to the home side before a turnover gave the Free jacks an attacking scrum. Wian Conradie picked and found a seam in the 9-channel for a try, with Waaka converting to extend New England’s lead, 7-24.
Technical difficulties in the 50th minute resulted in a broadcast match gap in the play.
Too bad for the fans, as within a minute Nick Civetta scored a try from close range, with Heighton converting to cut the lead to 14-24.
New York attacked again to midfield but a ripped ball had Wayne Van Der Bank motoring deep inside New York territory. A Free Jacks lineout from within 5-meters of in-goal was not straight giving New York a scrum. The team explored wide right before Heighton cleared.
New York stole the ensuing lineout and Ellis kicked for territory. The Free Jacks attack was brief and New York had a lineout inside Free Jacks territory A Fawsit run and then Civetta was finished by Chance Wenglewski for a try and a Heighton conversion, 21-24 with 19 minutes to play.
The restart had Ellis clearing and after a Waaka high ball miscue off his right foot. Fawsitt claimed the ball and ended with an Ed Fidow try to claim a bonus point in the standings and a 26-24 lead after the Heighton miss.
After some back and forth between the teams, Jack Heighton knocked on a high ball resulting in a New England scrum. A few phases later, a knock on gave New York a scrum. A high ball by Heighton was taken by Ellis to O’Connor and then to Fidow. New York pressured the Free Jacks before a penalty allowed them to clear and attack from a lineout at the 10-meter line. A Waaka high ball was gathered by Heighton and Ellis boxed kicked inside Free jacks territory before an off the feet penalty at the breakdown had Free jacks kicking to touch and attacking from a lineout.
Again, the Free jacks foiled their attack with a knock-on resulting in a New York scrum, however, a penalty had. New England elected to avoid kicking for points and attacked from a lineout. This choice did not result in a try, with New York poaching at the breakdown for a scrum. New York then cleared into Free jacks territory.
After an Ellis clearance kick, the Free jacks attacked from midfield, going through multiple phases before an offload to Le Roux Malan for a bonus-point try in the right corner to reclaim the lead, 26-29 after Waaka’s conversion was wide.
The ensuing restart went deep inside New England territory and a knock-on resulted in Free jacks scrum. New York would have one last chance to score from a scrum with seconds remaining about 13 meters out. Heighton attacked blind, then out left to O’Connor. New York continued to go through phases, but a turnover allowed Poland to kick out for a 29-26 win.
With the win, the Free jacks claimed the Chowder Cup and continue in first place in the Eastern Conference with a 9-1 record and 42 points. Rugby New York picked up two bonus points in the loss and their 32 points place them in third place ahead of Toronto with 30 points, with a game in hand.
The Fox Sports Man of the Match was Wian Conradie.
Next week, Rugby New York has a home match on Sunday, May 1 against NOLA Gold at 3 pm ET. New England hosts the Utah Warriors on April 30.
Regardless of the outcome of the San Diego Legion vs Rugby ATL match later tonight, ATL will still be in second place in the East.
Squads with Player Article Links & Match Preview
Rugby New York: 1 Nic Mayhew 2 Kaleb Geiger 3 Kalolo Tuiloma 4 Nate Brakeley (C) 5 Charlie Hewitt 6 Ben Bonasso 7 Brendon O’Connor 8 Kara Pryor 9 Andy Ellis 10 Jack Heighton 11 Ed Fidow 12 Jason Emery 13 Faasiu Fuatai 14 Ismail Shabazz 15 Troy Lockyear 16 Dylan Fawsitt 17 Chance Wenglewski 18 Sak Taulafo 19 Nick Civetta 20 Jonathan Grzeszczyk 21Connor Buckley 22 Sam Windsor 23 Quinn Ngawati
New England Free Jacks: 1 Kyle Ciquera 2 Pieter Jansen 3 Erich de Jager 4 Josh Larsen (C) 5 Stan van den Hoven 6 Jesse Parete 7 Slade McDowall 8 Wian Conradie 9 John Poland 10 Beaudein Waaka 11 Paula Balekana 12 Le Roux Malan 13 Wayne van der Bank 14 Mitch Wilson 15 Harrison Boyle16 Mills Sanerivi 17 Alex Johnston 18 Spencer Krueger 19 Reegan O’Gorman 20 Joe Johnston 21 Holden Yungert 22 Isaac Olson 23 Cam Davidowicz
Rugby New York: Record 6-4, 32 points, 3rd place
- Houston SaberCats 7-10 Rugby New York, Match Preview
- Rugby ATL 31-36 Rugby New York, Match Preview
- Dallas Jackals 5-41 Rugby New York, Match Preview
- Rugby New York 29-38 New England Free Jacks, Match Preview
- Rugby New York 26-23 San Diego Legion, Match Preview
- NOLA Gold 19-30 Rugby New York Match Preview
- Rugby New York 10-14 Toronto Arrows Match Preview
- Rugby New York 35-31 Old Glory DC Match Preview
- LA Giltinis 43-0 Rugby New York Match Preview
- Rugby New York 26-29 New England Free Jacks Match Preview
- Rugby New York vs NOLA Gold (May 1)
- Toronto Arrows vs Rugby New York (May 8)
- Rugby New York vs Seattle Seawolves (May 15)
- Rugby New York vs Rugby ATL (May 22)
- Old Glory vs Rugby New York (May 29)
- New England Free Jacks vs Rugby New York (June 3)
New England Free Jacks 9-1, 37 points, 1st place
- NOLA Gold 13-24 New England Free Jacks
- Old Glory DC 25-41 New England Free Jacks
- LA Giltinis 19-15 New England Free Jacks
- Rugby New York 29-38 New England Free Jacks
- New England Free Jacks 21-15 Toronto Arrows
- Austin Gilgronis 17-25 New England Free Jacks
- Rugby ATL 27-41 New England Free Jacks
- New England Free Jacks 33-29 NOLA Gold
- New England Free Jacks 24-22 Seattle Seawolves
- Rugby New York 26-29 New England Free Jacks
- New England Free Jacks vs Utah Warriors April 30
- New England Free Jacks vs Old Glory DC May 7
- New England Free Jacks vs Rugby ATL May. 13
- Toronto Arrows vs New England Free Jacks May 19
- New England Free Jacksvs NOLA Gold May 29
- New England Free Jacks vs Rugby New. York June 3