Rugby New York defeated Old Glory DC 34-8 on Sunday, March 5 at Memorial Stadium in Mount Vernon, New York. The Ironworkers are in first place in the Eastern Conference, while Old Glory moves to fourth. A replay of the match May be viewed on The Rugby Network.
In another Eastern Conference match that took place on Saturday, second-place Rugby ATL defeated NOLA Gold 29-16.
Rugby New York took advantage of an Old Glory knock-on after the opening kick, winning the ensuing scrum and kicking to touch instead of for points after a DC penalty. Instead, the Ironworkers mauled from the lineout, and a Connor Buckley offload to Jason Emery and then to Jack Heighton, resulted in a try for a 5-0 lead with Heighton’s conversion wide.
A lineout steal at Old Glory’s 22 meters, had the Ironworkers going through phases, but after another Old Glory penalty, New York mauled from a lineout with Dylan Fawsitt scoring, 10-0. The wind continued to be a factor with kicking as the conversion was missed.
New York would add a penalty goal in front of the posts by Heighton and led 13-0 in the 16th minute.
Andrew Coe put Kurt Baker under pressure with a kick chase and had Old Glory cleared from in-goal under duress. New York countered after a DC scrum penalty to attempt to strike again from a lineout deep inside DC territory, but a penalty negated their effort.
Old Glory had an attacking lineout 8 meters from in goal, with Api Naikatini gathering, and after the ensuing maul, Jamason Fa’anana-Schultz was held up. New York penalties mounted and after a TMO for an early tackle, Old Glory’s Danny Tusitala offloaded to Tito Diaz Bonilla for a try to cut the lead to 13-5 after a failed conversion attempt by Diaz Bonilla.
Old Glory had a late scoring opportunity after a 5-meter lineout, but a Nate Brakeley turnover at the breakdown allowed Heighton to clear to near midfield. New York continued to move deep inside Old Glory’s territory, and a defensive effort by DC directed a New York maul into touch to end the half.
Old Glory struck first in the second half with a Tito Diaz Bonilla penalty goal to cut the lead to 13-8.
New York followed with an attacking lineout 5 meters from in-goal with a maul in which several backs entered. After runs by Brendon O’Connor and Brad Tucker, jack Heighton added his second try and conversion to push the lead to 20-8.
New York almost struck again, but Jason Emery was held up in goal.
A few minutes later, after New York had gone through multiple phases, O’Connor advanced close to in goal and Heighton finished with a hat trick bonus point try and conversion, 27-8. The hat trick was New York’s second ever, and according to James Deeley, was the 23rd in MLR history.
Old Glory did not let up and had an attacking lineout inside the Ironworkers 22 meters. Pago Haini was pinged with consecutive penalties, but after a DC 5-meter lineout, created a turnover at the breakdown to thwart a possible score.
New York would add an additional try in the closing minute with Sam Windsor diving over for a try, and then converting for a 34-8 victory.
It was clear who was the Player of the Match, which went to Jack Heighton.
A number of rugby pundits jumped on the Old Glory bandwagon ahead of the match and predicted a New York loss. The Ironworkers had a strong performance in winning their 5th straight match over DC. Old Glory showed that the team should not be taken lightly and has improved since last year.
Next Saturday, Old Glory will travel to play third-place New England for the Free Jacks’ home opener and Rugby New York will face NOLA Gold away on Sunday.
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Rugby New York Ironworkers: 1 Chance Wenglewski 2 Dylan Fawsitt 3 Sam Davies 4 Nate Brakeley (C) 5 Hamish Dalzell 6 Brad Tucker 7 Brendon O’Connor 8 Kara Pryor 9 Connor Buckley 10 Jack Heighton 11 Ed Fidow 12 Jason Emery 13 Teihorangi Walden 14 Fa’asiu Fuatai 15 Andrew Coe 16 Kaleb Geiger 17 Tevita Langi 18 Pago Haini 19 Charlie Hewitt 20 Enrique Quinteros 21 Eamonn Matthews 22 Sam Windsor 23 John Powers
Old Glory DC: 1 Jack Iscaro 2 Nic Souchon 3 Ramiro Herrera 4 Api Naikatini 5 Tevita Naqali 6 Lautaro Bavaro 7 Cory Daniel 8 Jamason Fa’anana-Schultz (C) 9 Danny Tusitala 10 Joaquín Díaz Bonilla 11 Peni Lasaqa 12 Fermín Martínez 13 Thretton Palamo 14 Marcos Young 15 Kurt Baker 16 Facundo Gattas 17 Quentin Newcomber 18 Cali Martinez 19 Collin Grosse 20 Fintan Coleman 21 John Lefevre 22 Mike Dabulas 23 Gradyn Bowd