Rugby New York Moves to Eastern Conference Final After Beating Rugby ATL

Rugby ATL lost to Rugby New York 26-19 in the Eastern Conference playoff semifinal on Saturday, June 11 at Silverbacks Park in Atlanta, Georgia. The match was broadcast on Fox Sports 2 and internationally on The Rugby Network. There will be a 24-hour delay in the U.S. for The Rugby Network replay.

With the win, Rugby New York will meet the New England Free jacks at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Quincy, Massachusetts on June 19 at 3 pm. The winner will face the Western Conference Champion the following weekend at the Eastern Conference Champions’ home field.

This will be uncharted territory for New England, who are making their first playoff appearance. They lost to New York in the team’s final regular-season match.

Rugby New York will enter the Conference Final with the best road record in MLR (8-1). They also will have confidence that they can advance to their first Championship. They will have respect for their opponent, but the rivalry between the teams will take second place in the task at hand.

Match Recap

Rugby New York struck first with a penalty goal by Jason Emery in the 5th minute for a 0-3 lead.

Rugby ATL had their own scoring chance and elected to kick for touch instead of kicking a penalty goal attempt. That ultimately did not work out as a Jason Emery steal then had Waisake Naholo placing ATL under pressure with a clearance kick inside the Ratlers’ 22-meters.

A Ratlers penalty had Emery adding a penalty goal in the 19th minute to push the lead to 0-6.

An intercept by Dylan Fawsitt of an ATL pass intended for Joaquin de la Vega Mendia was chipped ahead by Milner-Skudder who chased Kurt Coleman with Jason Emery assisting Coleman back in goal. This resulted in a 5-meter scrum to New York and after a penalty by Will Leonard, Emery slotted his third kick, 0-9.

Rugby ATL got on the scoreboard in the 33rd minute with a penalty goal by Kurt Coleman to cut New York’s lead to 3-9. Another New York penalty in the 41st minute led to another Coleman penalty goal on the last play before the break, 6-9.

Second Half

The opening restart was knocked on by Rugby ATL just outside their 22-meters. New York drove from the scrum which resulted in a penalty by ATL. New York attacked from a lineout and after a penalty advantage mauled from another lineout which resulted in a penalty try, 6-16.

A New York penalty inside their 22-meters had ATL’s Kurt Coleman kicking for touch and mauling from 5-meters out. Another New York penalty resulted in a lineout 5-meters out. Side entry in the maul resulted in a yellow card by Nick Civetta in the 50th minute. ATL’s third 5-mete lineout was mauled and offloaded to Will Leonard. A few phases later New York was penalized again for being offsides. ATL then kicked to touch instead of going for a kick under the posts. The ensuing lineout resulted in a loose ball turnover and a clearance kick.

An ATL scrum was ruled pulled down by New York and ATL attacked from another deep lineout. ATL then attacked from a 5-meter scrum trying to drive on New York without success. The scrum was reset and New York was penalized when the scrum collapsed. This time Rugby ATL elected to kick at goal with Coleman slotting his third kick to cut the lead to within a converted try, 9-16.

New York had an attacking scrum inside ATL’s 22-meters, but a collapsed scrum penalty allowed ATL to clear for an attacking lineout. A knock-on then gave ATL a scrum inside New York territory. ATL went through phases, but a penalty on contact had Coleman slotting another kick in the 65th minute, 12-16.

New York attacked from a lineout 7-meters out but resulted in an ATL scrum after the ball was not straight. New York drove with ATL backpedaling which resulted in a penalty by ATL. This led to an attacking maul with Dylan Fawsitt grounding and Emery converting to push the lead to 12-23.

A high tackle by Rugby ATL then had New York tacking on another 3 points by Emery in the 79th minute, 12-26.

A New York penalty at their own 5-meter line, resulted in ATL going through phases and Kurt Coleman scoring a try in the 82nd minute with Duncan Van Schalkwyk slotting for a final score of 19-26 to Rugby New York.

Dylan Fawsitt was named the Man of the Match.

With the win Rugby New York advances to the MLR Eastern Conference Final on Sunday, June 19 at 3 pm ET against the New England Free Jacks. This will be the fourth meeting between the teams this season with Rugby New York ending the Free Jacks’ unbeaten record at home on June 3.

Rugby New York has the best road record in MLR with an 8-1 away record this season. They are 12-5 this season. New England had the best record in MLR (13-3) and must navigate their first playoff game ever.

The MLR Shield Championship will be held at the home of the Eastern Conference Champion.

Squads with Player Article Links & Match Preview

RUGBY ATL: 1 Alex Maughan 2 Marko Janse van Rensburg 3 John Sullivan 4 Justin Basson 5 Johan Momsen 6 Connor Cook 7 Matt Heaton (C) 8 Jason Damm 9 Ryan Rees 10 Kurt Coleman 11 Austin White 12 Will Leonard 13 Te Rangatira Waitokia 14 Harley Davidson 15 Joaquín de la Vega Mendía 16 Tiaan Erasmus 17 Jonas Petrakopoulos 18 Will Burke 19 Evan Mintern 20 Ross Deacon 21Duncan van Schalkwyk 22 Ryan Nell 23 George Barton

RUGBY NEW YORK: 1 Chance Wenglewski 2 Kaleb Geiger 3 Wilton Rebolo 4 Ben Bonasso (C) 5 Charlie Hewitt 6 Antonio Kiri Kiri 7 Brendon O’Connor 8 Dylan Fawsitt 9 Andy Ellis 10 Jack Heighton 11 Ed Fidow 12  Jason Emery 13 Faasiu Fuatai 14 Waisake Naholo 15 Nehe Milner-Skudder 16 Nic Mayhew 17 Kalolo Tuiloma 18 Nate Brakeley 19 Nick Civetta 20 Joe Basser 21 Conor McManus 22 Sam Windsor 23 Andrew  Coe

Rugby ATL: Regular Season Record 11-5, 57 points, 2nd place

  • Rugby ATL 55-22 Old Glory DC
  • NOLA Gold 9-14 Rugby ATL
  • Rugby ATL 31-36 Rugby New York
  • Rugby ATL 29-22 Houston SaberCats
  • Rugby ATL 29-14 Austin Gilronis
  • Old Glory DC 13-27 Rugby ATL
  • Rugby ATL 27-41 New England Free jacks
  • Toronto Arrows 14-20 Rugby ATL
  • NOLA Gold 17-34 Rugby ATL
  • San Diego Legion 17-30 Rugby ATL
  • Rugby ATL 19-31 LA Giltinis
  • Utah Warriors 44-26 Rugby ATL
  • New England Free jacks 15-10 Rugby ATL
  • Rugby New York 3-38 Rugby ATL May 22
  • Rugby ATL 34-23 Toronto Arrows May 28
  • Rugby ATL 57-5 NOLA Gold
  • Rugby ATL 19-26 Rugby New York: Eastern Conference Semifinal Match Preview
Rugby New York: Regular Season Record 11-5, 56 points, 3rd place

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