Rugby ATL vs Rugby New York Match Preview

Rugby ATL hosts Rugby New York on Saturday, June 10 at 8 pm at Silverbacks Park in Atlanta, Georgia with playoff implications on the line. The match will be broadcast on Fox Sports 2, as well as streamed on The Rugby Network internationally with a replay available 24 hours later.

MLR Eastern Conference Playoff Race

The 12-2 New England Free Jacks (58 points) have clinched first place and will host the winner of Old Glory DC vs Rugby New York in the Eastern Conference Final. They close out the regular season on the road against the Seattle Seawolves before their final regular season home match against the Houston SaberCats.

Old Glory with a 6-7-1 record (38 points) entered the weekend having clinched their first postseason appearance. Old Glory traveled to face the Houston SaberCats on Friday and either rested a number of their starters or had them as replacements ahead of their final regular-season match against Rugby ATL.

With the win against the Dallas Jackals, the Ironworkers (37 points) are within a point of clinching an MLR Eastern Conference playoff spot. They face Rugby ATL in a match Saturday and can clinch the final Eastern Conference playoff spot and eliminate Rugby ATL in the process. They still are in contention for second place with Old Glory, so each point earned in the standings is important. New York will finish their final regular season match at home on June 18 against the Utah Warriors.

Rugby ATL enters the weekend with a slim hope of making the playoffs. They would need bonus point wins over Rugby New York and Old Glory DC and to have the Ironworkers not obtain a bonus point either against Rugby ATL or the Utah Warriors.

Rugby  ATL

Head Coach Steve Brett has made two changes in the starters and another change in the reserves since last week’s 35-14 loss to the New England Free Jacks. Ross Deacon returns at eight-man with Vili Helu moving to blindside flanker. Nolan Tuamoheloa will be the left wing with Austin White shifting to fullback with Rewita Biddle rested.

In the reserves, Lincoln Sii will be at loosehead prop in place of Jonas Petrakpoulos. The team will also use a 6-2 split.

Rugby New York Ironworkers

Head Coach James Semple has made three changes in the starters since last week’s 43-14 win over the Dallas Jackals and another three in the reserves.

Chance Wenglewski returns at loosehead prop with Nic Mayhew shifting to the reserves at tighthead prop. Charlie Hewitt replaces Nate Brakeley at lock and Brendon O’Connor at openside flanker with Monate Akuei rested.

Replacement changes include Kara Pryor at the back row, Quinn Ngawati covering wing and center, and Sam Windsor and Jack Heighton flyhalf, fullback, and potentially, inside center. The 4-4 split is somewhat usual and in contrast with ATL’s 6-2 split.

The Ironworkers would like nothing better than to get a bonus point win against Rugby ATL to enter next week with a chance at home-field advantage in the playoffs against Old Glory DC.

The team will need Charlie Hewitt and Hamish Dalzell to play all 80 minutes unless Brad Tucker does and moves to lock later in the match. The team has had many of its players returning to health ahead of the playoffs, with an ankle injury to Nate Brakeley in the closing minutes, of concern.

Squads with Player Profile Links

Rugby ATL: 1 Alex Maughan 2 Sidney Tobias 3 John Roy Jenkinson 4 Justin Basson 5 Johan Momsen 6 Vili Helu 7 Matt Heaton (C)  8 Ross Deacon 9 Ryan Rees 10 Chris Hilsenbeck 11 Nolan Tuamoheloa 12 Martini Talapusi 13 Will Leonard 14 Te Rangatira Waitokia 15  Austin White 16 Isaac Bales 17 Lincoln Sii 18 Will Burke 19 Nahuel Milan 20 Daemon Torres 21 Connor Cook 22 Niall Saunders 23 Kurt Coleman

Rugby New York Ironworkers: 1 Chance Wenglewski 2 Dylan Fawsitt 3 Kaleb GeigerCharlie Hewitt 5 Hamish Dalzell 6 Brad Tucker 7 Brendon O’Connor 8 Pago Haini 9 Connor Buckley 10 Jason Emery 11 Ed Fidow 12 Teihorangi Walden 13 Fa’asiu Fuatai 14 Brooklyn Hardaker 15 Andrew Coe 16 Daquan Perry 17 Tevita Langi 18 Nic Mayhew 19 Quinn Ngawati 20 Kara Pryor 21 Conor McManus 22 Sam Windsor 23 Jack Heighton

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North American Rugby News With A USA Slant