Rugby New York Ironworkers Clinch Playoffs with Win Over Rugby ATL

Rugby New York clinched the playoffs with a 39-24 win against Rugby ATL on Saturday, June 10 at Silverbacks Park in Atlanta, Georgia. A match replay is available on The Rugby Network 24 hours later.

New York will finish their final regular season match at home on Sunday, June 18 against the Utah Warriors, while Rugby ATL travels to Old Glory DC for their final match of 2023 on Saturday, June 17.

With the win over Rugby ATL, Rugby New York is in second place in the Eastern Conference with an 8-7 record and 42 points, while Old Glory DC drops to third place with 38 points after a 31-7 loss to the Houston SaberCats.

Before the Ironworkers play their final regular season match next Sunday against the Utah Warriors, they will know if they need a bonus point to host the second vs third play match on June 24 or 25. If Old Glory gets a bonus point win over Rugby ATL then the Ironworkers would have home field in the first round of the playoffs due to the tiebreaker of more wins. The winner of the Eastern Conference Semi-Final would then travel to face the New England Free Jacks in the Final the week after.

Match Recap

After a steal of a lineout, the ball went wide right to Brooklyn Hardaker, who finished with a try in the first minute. Jason Emery then slotted the conversion, 0-7.

Rugby ATL had the Ironworkers under pressure, however, following an ATL 5-meter lineout, Dylan Fawsitt stole the throw and the ball was cleared to midfield. ATL had another opportunity from a 5-meter lineout, however, Sidney Tobias lost the ball in goal and New York cleared.

In the 10th minute, Pago Haini was sent to the bin for having made contact with the shoulder of Rugby ATL’s flyhalf Chris Hilsenbeck during a dominant tackle. During his absence, Chris Hilsenbeck slotted a penalty kick in the 17th minute to cut the lead to 3-7.

Rugby New York had a scoring chance from a 5-meter lineout and after several phases and an ATL penalty decided to kick for goal with Jason Emery successful, 3-10.

The Ironworkers added a second try from close range by Dylan Fawsitt with Jason Emery adding the extras, 3-17.

Rugby  ATL answered back with a cross-kick to Te Rangatira Waitokia, who sped in for a try with Hilsenbeck converting, 10-17.

The seesaw scoring continued after a New York lineout from close range with the ball going wide right for Brooklyn Hardaker’s second try. Emery’s conversion attempt then bounced off the left post, 10-22.

Before the break, Brendon O’Connor was sent to the bin, and in the following minute, it appeared that Sidney Tobias scored a try for Rugby ATL. However, a TMO determined that Matt Heaton obstructed the play and there was no try.

Second Half

Rugby ATL had the first scoring chance of the half from an attacking 5-meter lineout after Kara Pryor was sent to the bin. ATL capitalized with the Ironworkers down to 13 men, as Sidney Tobias scored in the left corner and Hilsenbeck converted, 17-22.

O’Connor returned from the bin before the ensuing restart. New York created a turnover at ATL’s 22 meters and Fasi Fuatai pierced a gap and offloaded to Jason Emery for a bonus point try with Emery converting, 17-29. That bonus point clinched the playoffs for Rugby New York.

New York had an unusual substitution as Quinn Ngawati, who usually is a wing or center, entered the match as a flanker. He would soon shift to lock after an ATL penalty try with Kaleb Geiger receiving a yellow card. An ATL scrum meant that Brad Tucker served the penalty as Geiger was needed in the front row for a scrum. The match was now 24-29.

New York struck right back as Kara Pryor motored through a gap for a try with Sam Windsor adding the extras, 24-36. Windsor would add a penalty goal in the  68th minute, which meant ATL would need three scores to win.

That did not happen, nor was Windsor’s penalty goal attempt in the 80th minute successful. Rugby New York exited Atlanta in second place in the Eastern Conference and has a 4-point edge in the standings over Old Glory DC entering the final week of the regular season to see who hosts the Conference semi-final.

Man of the Match honors went to Dylan Fawsitt, who was the captain of the match in Nate Brakeley’s absence.

Squads with Player Profile Links & Match Preview

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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