Rugby New York defeated NOLA Gold 54-19 on Sunday, May 7 at Memorial Stadium in Mt. Vernon, New York. The match was broadcast on MSG and Yurview, and the replay may be viewed on The Rugby Network domestically and internationally.
In the curtain raiser, the NYPD defeated the NYFD 26-22.
With the win, Rugby New York is in third place in the MLR Eastern Conference and remains in playoff contention.
The three playoff spots will come from New England, which tops the table with 38 points, Old Glory has 29, Rugby New York has 28, NOLA Gold has 26, and Rugby ATL with 24.
Next week, Rugby New York travels to play the Chicago Hounds on Sunday, May 14, and NOLA Gold faces San Diego Legion at home on Saturday, May 13.
Other Eastern Conference matches include Toronto hosting Rugby ATL on Friday, and Old Glory at home against New England on Saturday.
Before the match, NOLA Gold’s Canadian international hooker Eric Howard was scratched with Matt Harmon starting and Chris Schade moving into matchday 23. Schade, who played for the American Raptors in the Super Rugby Americas this season, became the first player to play in Major League Rugby and SRA in the same season.
Rugby New York had the first scoring opportunity on Sunday. A penalty by NOLA Gold gave the Ironworkers an attacking lineout inside Gold’s 22 meters. A chip kick by Ed Fidow followed with Nick Feakes unable to ground the ball in goal. This resulted in a goal drop which allowed NOLA Gold to attack.
In the 4th minute, NOLA Gold’s fullback Dougie Fife left the pitch with an HIA and was replaced by Harley Wheeler for the remainder of the match. This did not stop the Gold’s attack as JP du Plessis found a gap for a try two minutes later with Jordan Jackson-Hope converting for a 7-0 lead.
The Ironworkers quickly answered back after a turnover at the breakdown with a Fasi Fuatai grub kick which was gathered by Monate Akuei. The ball was flicked from the ground by Dylan Fawsitt to Ed Fidow to Kara Pryor to Connor Buckley with Andrew Coe scoring in the right corner. Jason Emery slotted the difficult conversion from touch to level the match at 7 all.
New York took the lead after Jason Emery split two Gold defenders, which collided on the tackle attempt, for a try. There was a match delay as Billy Stewart needed to be transported by ambulance and Devin Short also left the match with an HIA. They were replaced by William Waguespack and by Ale Lopeti at lock and flanker, respectively.
The match resumed after another ambulance arrived, as required for safety reasons. Emery then slotted the conversion to push New York’s lead to 14-7.
New York used an attacking lineout taken by Brad Tucker, for Connor Buckley to distribute the ball to Emery to Ed Fidow for a try, with Emery adding the extras to lead 21-7.
The ensuing restart was gathered by Jason Emery and following a box kick by Buckley, Andrew Coe tapped the ball back and Monate Akuei grub-kicked ahead with Fasi Fuatai grounding in the left corner for a 26-7 lead and a bonus point in the standings for the team’s 4th try.
New York added another try with Fidow chipping ahead and Connor Buckley grounding, with Emery converting to lead 33-7. Dylan Fawsitt added the team’s 6th try of the half from a maul with Emery adding the extras for a 40-7 lead at the break.
The Ironworkers continued their momentum to open up the second half with Tei Walden offloading to Emery for a try and conversion, 47-7, and then added another after an Akuei break and offload to Fidow to Andrew Coe for a try with Emery adding the extras, 54-7.
NOLA Gold struck back after Cam Dolan picked up a loose ball to score an easy try with Jackson-Hope converting, 54-14. JP du Plessis added another after a quick tap from a penalty for Gold’s third try, 54-19.
The match was then a game of wills with NOLA Gold trying to gain a bonus point for a 4th try, and New York’s defense trying to finish out the match denying Gold a try.
NOLA Gold did have a scoring opportunity from an attacking lineout 5 meters from in-goal, but a turnover gave the ball to New York. The Ironworkers also had an attacking lineout 5 meters out, but a GOLD steal also thwarted the potential scoring opportunity.
Sam Windsor closed out the match with a kick to touch and the 54-19 victory.
For Rugby New York it was a team effort of playing inspired rugby. The team was creative in their attack, tenacious at the breakdown, and stellar with their defense. Even with adjustments due to injuries, the scrums held and the team held their own in the lineouts.
Jason Emery was a catalyst with two tries and adding 7 of 8 conversions. Andrew Coe also had a brace, with Ed Fidow, Fasi Fuatai, Connor Buckley, and Dylan Fawsitt adding solo tries. Chance Wenglewski put in 74 minutes at loosehead prop, after starting and returning to action after an injury to Tevita Langi. Monate Akuei was involved in the action all over the pitch and captain Nate Brakeley led by example.
The team hopes that the momentum will carry over to Chicago next Sunday.
For NOLA Gold, they remain in playoff contention in 4th place. Of concern are the potential player attrition due to HIAs. It is certainly hoped that the players will not have any long-term effects.
Squad with Player Article Links + Match Preview
Rugby New York Ironworkers: 1 Chance Wenglewskii 2 Dylan Fawsitt 3 Kaleb Geiger 4 Nate Brakeley (C) 5 Hamish Dalzell 6 Brad Tucker 7 Monate Akuei 8 Kara Pryor 9 Connor Buckley 10 Jason Emery 11 Ed Fidow 12 Teihorangi Walden 13 Fa’asiu Fuatai 14 Andrew Coe 15 Nick Feakes16 Daquan Perry 17 Tevita Langi 18 Sam Davies 19 Charlie Hewitt 20 Ben Bonasso 21 Cristian Rodriguez 22 Sam Windsor 23 Brooklyn Hardaker
NOLA Gold: 1 Jarred Adams 2 Matt Harmon 3 Sean Paranhi 4 Cam Dolan 5 Billy Stewart 6 Malcolm May 7 Devin Short 8 Tesimoni Tonga’uiha 9 Luke Campbell 10 Rodney Iona 11 Aaron Matthews12 Jordan Jackson-Hope 13 JP Duplessis 14 Ross Depperschmidt 15 Dougie Fife 16 Chris Schade 17 Kevin Sullivan 18 Dino Waldren19 William Waguespack 20 Alex Lopeti 21 Damian Stevens 22 Harley Wheeler 23 Jordan Trainor