Match Preview: Ironworkers Take on Seattle in Season Opener of 2023

7 months ago

The Ironworkers begin their 2023 campaign against the Seattle Seawolves this Saturday (2/18 at 9:30PM ET) at Starfire Sports Complex in a rematch of last year’s MLR Championship Final. You can watch live on FS1 (US viewers) and The Rugby Network (International viewers)

Last year’s final saw Rugby New York capture their first-ever MLR Championship Shield in a 30-15 win over this very side (Seattle) at Red Bull Arena. Click here to see the full recap of the 2022 MLR Championship Final.

This will be the first match with Rugby New York bearing the name “Ironworkers.” The team warmed up in gifted Ironworkers t-shirts before the MLR Final, and the team was inspired to have a permanent association with the name.

Inside the Match Up:

Rugby New York has faced Seattle five times since their inaugural 2019 season. Before last year’s championship match, the two teams were tied in regular season play at two gamesapiece. Their last meeting is the tiebreaker up to this point, giving the Ironworkers a 3-2advantage all-time.

Grand Debuts:
The Ironworkers have 4 players in line to make their debut tonight (Hamish Dalzell in the second row, Brad Tucker in the back row, Tei Walden in the midfield, and Sam Davies coming off the bench).

This match will also be James Semple’s debut as head coach of the Ironworkers. Semple was the head coach for Waikato Women’s team and an assistant coach for the Auckland Blues. In 2020 and 2021, Semple was a New Zealand Coach of the Year nominee. In the MLR, Semple hasexperience as a player/coach for the Utah Warriors.

Players to Watch:

Rugby New York had a league-leading nine All-MLR selections between the first, second, and honorable mention teams. The four first-team selections, Chance Wenglweski, Dylan Fawsitt, Ed Fidow and Brendon O’Connor, are returning this year.

Fidow is coming off a year where he led the league in tries, and O’Conner took home last year’s MLR Forward of the Year Award.

Home Opener 2023 - Next Sunday! (2/18 at 3PM)

Next week we host the Toronto Arrows for our historic Home Opener at Memorial Field in Mount Vernon (our first ever match at the venue). This game will also see us host our first ever theme day - kicking off with our 'Championship Celebration'. You don't want to miss it.

To learn more and get your tickets now, click here.

Written by Jason Piccolomini.

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