Rugby New York hosts the New England Free Jacks at 3 pm ET on Sunday, March 19. This rivalry match will be broadcast on MSG and NBCSB and streamed on The Rugby Network. A curtain raiser between Old Blue and Mystic River will kick off at noon. Get tickets at . rugbynewyork.com/tickets
Rugby New York Ironworkers
After an uncharacteristic performance in the second half of last week’s loss to NOLA Gold, the Ironworkers will need to challenge the Free Jacks for the entire match, minimizing penalties, and excelling in set pieces, and at the breakdown. Expect the team to have a chip on their shoulder for this rivalry match against New England.
Head Coach James Semple has made four changes in the starters and another in the reserves. Charlie Hewitt and Pago Haini will start for the first time this season at lock and eight-man, respectively with Hamish Dalzell shifting to the reserves and Kara Pryor moving to openside flanker. Nick Feakes will start at fullback in his first appearance with the team this season. USA Eagle Ben Bonasso returns to the squad as a blindside flanker after an injury.
In the reserves, Joe Basser could make his first appearance for the team this season. When Ironworkers needs fresh players, it will have experienced players to give a boost to the pace of the match.
The team will then have a bye week before they host Rugby ATL on April 2 at home. As such, it provides an opportunity to provide two weeks for players like Brad Tucker, Brendon O’Connor, and jack Heighton to come back fresh in two weeks. With a 16-match season, strategically managing the roster is essential.
The Ironworkers have four players in the top 10 for MLR stats. Ed Fidow and Andrew Coe are 2 and 5 in meters gained with 568 and 416, respectively. Brendon O’Connor and Nate Brakeley are among the top tackle leaders, Sam Windsor is 10th in points scored with 22. Jack Heighton and Dylan Fawsitt are tied for 4th with 3 tires scored, while Fasi Fuatai is in 9th with 2 tries. Ed Fidow is 3rd in ball carries with 43.
For player profile articles of each Rugby New York player, click here.
New England Free Jacks
The Free Jacks have to feel the sting of having the best record in Major League Rugby in 2022, but then losing their final match of the season to New York at home, as well as the Eastern Conference Final.
The team will want to avoid a three-peat loss to their rivals, as both teams are neck and neck in the playoff hunt, and the next match for New England is at home on March 25 against the Dallas Jackals.
Head Coach Scott Mathie has made three changes in the starters and another two in the reserves. Team captain Josh Larsen sustained a dislocated shoulder last week and Jesse Parete had two yellow cards, which equated to a red card and a one-match suspension. As a result, along with an injury to Reegan O’Gorman, the team is down to two locks, Semisi Paea and Canadian international Conor Keys, who will start. Cam Davidowicz, whose try sealed the win last week against Old Glory, starts as the blindside flanker.
In the reserves, Mills Sanerivi returns to hooker, and the experienced back-row Mitch Jacobson returns from injury. There will be some very experienced reserves available when needed.
Wian Conradie is 10th in the MLR this season in points scored with 22, as well as 1st in ball carries with 47. Jayson Potroz is tied for 10th in points scored with 22. John Poland is tied for 4th place in the MLR with 3 tries.
Squads With Player Profile Article Links
Rugby New York Ironworkers: 1 Chance Wenglewski 2 Dylan Fawsitt 3 Nic Mayhew 4 Nate Brakeley (C) 5 Charlie Hewitt 6 Ben Bonasso 7 Kara Pryor 8 Pago Haini 9 Connor Buckley 10 Sam Windsor 11 Ed Fidow 12 Teihorangi Walden 13 Fa’asiu Fuatai 14 Andrew Coe15 Nick Feakes 16 Kaleb Geiger 17 Tevita Langi 18 Sam Davies 19 Hamish Dalzell 20 Joe Basser 21 Eamonn Matthews 22 Jason Emery 23 Quinn Ngawati
New England Free Jacks: 1 Kyle Ciquera 2 Andrew Quattrin 3 Cole Keith 4 Semiisi Paea 5 Conor Keys 6 Cam Davidowicz 7 Joe Johnston 8 Wian Conradie 9 John Poland 10 Jayson Potroz 11 Paula Balekana 12 Wayne van der Bank 13 Ben LeSage 14 Mitch Wilson15 Reece MacDonald 16 Mills Sanerivi 17 Foster DeWitt 18 Joel Hintz 19 Sam Fischli 20 Mitch Jacobson 21 Holden Yungert 22 Spencer Jones 23 Taniela Filimone