Rugby United New York were pushed to the edge by the Utah Warriors but in the end came away with a bonus point 24-22 victory at MCU Park on Saturday evening. Three tries from the electric Warriors backline kept them close only to see New York’s forwards take charge in the final quarter.
It was clear from the outset that Utah would not be pushovers despite being heavy underdogs. Early attacks from both sides were repelled with the Warriors turning down an early kickable penalty into a stiff breeze. Strong work at the breakdown won a penalty and Utah were forced to start again.
The stalemate ended in the 26th minute when numerous phases sucked in the Warriors and a miss pass from Ben Foden to Connor Wallace-Sims exploited the overlap. Celebrations were short-lived, however, as a scintillating 60-meter break from Don Pati saw the winger dance past numerous defenders before letting Gannon Moore take it the rest of the way.
A quick tap from Luke Hume put Utah back on their heels, with Mike Petri’s signature dummy-and-run freezing the post long enough to create the space for Dylan Fawsitt to take an offload in under the sticks. The Warriors again responded in style, however, with Moore’s offload putting Pati into the corner after five players had put it through the hands. It left the score dead even at halftime.
Utah came out quickest after the break. James Semple plugged the corner and some lazy New York cover allowed Moore to win the race. He would be tackled but a couple phases later and Johnny Ika took a page out of Petri’s book to sneak through on the post.
The tit-for-tat continued with RUNY the next to score. A number of deliberate attacks up the middle opened space out wide and just as Foden had before, Cathal Marsh spotted Wallace-Sims in space on the left flank. The Utah defense was too slow to react and the winger was in for a double.
The Warriors still had a two-point lead, however, and Tim O’Malley’s penalty goal stretched it to five. A second attempt drifted wide of the posts and left the door open for RUNY. Their forwards rolled up their sleeves and earned the hard yards through a rolling maul with Anthony Parry the man to fall over the line.
Replacements streamed into the game and Pati put Fetu’u Vainikolo close to the line, but instead of a try it was a penalty as the powerful Tongan had driven through contact on his knees before the grounding. That would be Utah’s last chance as again the RUNY forwards went to work, and with Lance Williams binned for cynical play the Warriors were one man short of a comeback.
Next for New York is a trip south for a Friday night match against the Glendale Raptors in Colorado. A road win would be a big boost for their playoff chances. Utah have no such hopes but will look to earn just their second win of the season at home against Austin on Saturday.
NEW YORK 24
Tries – C. Wallace-Sims 2 (26’, 46’), D. Fawsitt (35’), A. Parry (60’)
Cons – C. Mattina 2/4 (36’, 61’)
Tries – G. Moore (29’), D. Pati (39’), J. Ika (41’)
Cons – T. O’Malley 2/3 (30’, 42’)
Pens – T. O’Malley 1/2 (51’)
Yellow cards – L. Williams (68’)
RUGBY UNITED NEW YORK
1 Anthony Parry, 2 Callum Mackintosh (20 Matt Hughston 48’), 3 James Rochford, 4 Alex MacDonald (19 Matt Wirken 65’), 5 Nate Brakeley, 6 Kyle Sumsion, 7 John Quill, 8 Dylan Fawsitt, 9 Mike Petri (capt.) (21 Marcus Walsh 68’), 10 Cathal Marsh, 11 Connor Wallace-Sims, 12 Chris Mattina (22 Harry Bennett 74’), 13 Mark O’Keeffe (23 Mike St. Claire 58’), 14 Luke Hume, 15 Ben Foden
Not used: 16 Mike Brown, 17 Kirk Hamilton, 18 Chris Sullivan
1 Franco van den Berg, 2 Jeremy Leber, 3 Angus MacLellan (20 Alex Tucci 72’), 4 Saia Uhila, 5 Matt Jensen, 6 Lance Williams, 7 Ara Elkington, 8 Arthur Bergo, 9 Johnny Ika, 10 Josh Reeves, 11 Don Pati, 12 Tim O’Malley (capt.), 13 Gannon Moore, 14 Tonata Lauti (21 Fetu’u Vainikolo 61’), 15 James Semple (22 Josh Whippy 63’)
Not used: 16 Metai Tu’imoala, 17 Tom Kacor, 18 Frikkie de Beer, 19 Kenny Scott, 23 Ian Luciano
Referee: Luke Rogan (USAR)
Assistants: Lex Weiner (USAR) & Amelia Luciano (USAR)