Rugby New York vs Utah Warriors Match Preview

Rugby New York hosts the Utah Warriors in their final regular season match on Sunday, June 18 at 3 pm at Memorial Field at Mt. Vernon, New York. The match will be broadcast on MSG Network and KMYU and streamed on The Rugby Network domestically and internationally.

In the curtain raiser at 11:30 am, the Gothan Knights play the Chicago Dragons to kick off Pride Day.

Rugby New York Ironworkers

The Rugby New York Ironworkers enter their final regular season match with the knowledge that they need one bonus point against the Utah Warriors to claim second place in the MLR Eastern Conference.

In Saturday action, Old Glory DC, who will meet New York in the playoffs, had a bonus point 36-28 win over Rugby ATL to temporarily move back into second place pending the outcome of Rugby New York’s match against the Utah Warriors.

Head Coach James Semple has made four changes in the starters and two in the reserves since last week’s playoff-clinching victory over Rugby ATL. Kara Pryor, Conor McManus, Sam Windsor, and Ishmail Shabazz start at blindside flanker, scrumhalf, fullback, and left-wing, respectively, with Brad Tucker shifting from flanker to lock. Ishmail will be returning from an injury and will be playing/starting for the first time in the 2023 season. Reserve changes include Joe Basser at the back row and Nick Feakes in the back three.

Rugby New York hopes to end its regular season with a win, but the defending MLR Shield Champions in 2022, has made the playoffs each of the four years it was held 2019, 2021, 2022, and 2023. The Ironworkers either need Old Glory to no gain a bonus point win against Rugby ATL or for them to get a bonus point against the  Utah Warriors to finish in second place in the MLR Eastern Conference and play on June 25 at home at 6 pm.

The Ironworkers Andrew Coe is fourth in the MLR in meters gained with 1429 and is among the leading try scorers with 7 tries. Nate Brakeley (8th) and Hamish Dalzell (10th) are among the leading tacklers with 176 and 175, respectively. Week 17 MLR Player of the Week Kaleb Geiger had 26 tackles, while Hamish Dalzell had 25.

Sam Windsor will be making his 75th MLR appearance and Eamonn Matthews was honored by the MLR through his nomination for the S. Marcus Calloway Award.

With the playoffs set to begin next Sunday for Rugby New York, Andrew Coe, Ed Fidoow, and Jack Heighton have a rest day. Nate Brakeley is also out of the matchday squad and it is hoped that his ankle will be healthy in time for the playoffs.

Utah Warriors

Head Coach Greg Cooper has made four changes in the starters and two in the reserves since last week’s 26-24 loss at home to the Chicago Hounds. Saia Uhila, Zion Going, Tyler Fisher, and Jesse Hamilton start at lock, scrumhalf, outside center, and left-wing, respectively, with Hamilton making his MLR debut.

Reserve changes include back row Jeremiah Noaese and center/wing Logan Tago. The  Utah Warriors have a 6-2 split. With Utah finishing in fourth place in the Western Conference, regardless of the outcome against New York, they have rested Joe Mano, and Mika Kruse with Paul Lasike out as well.

The Utah Warriors have several players leading the MLR statistics. Joe Mano is the leading try scorer and in meters gained with 14 and 1602, respectively. Joel Hodgson leads in kicking meters and is the third leading scorer and fourth in successful goal kicking with 5806, 111, and 36, respectively. Caleb Makene is second in meters gained with 1595.

Olive Kilifi was nominated for the S. Marcus Calloway Award.

Squads with Player Profile Links

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

Utah Warriors: 1  Olive Kilifi 2 Henry Bell 3 Paul Mullen 4 Saia Uhila  5  Jamie Lane 6 Bailey Wilson (C) 7 Lance Williams 8 Onehunga Havili 9 Zion Going  10 Joel Hodgson 11 Jesse Hamilton 12 Calvin Whiting 13 Tyler Fisher 14 Caleb Makene 15 Cliven Loubser16 Joey Backe 17  Emerson Prior 18 Angus MacLellan 19 Jurie van Vuuren 20 Thomas Tu’avao 21 Connor McLeod 22 Jeremiah Noaese 23  Logan Tago

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North American Rugby News With A USA Slant