Rugby New York (10-5) clinches a playoff spot in a 59-49 win over Old Glory DC (2-13) at Segra Field on Sunday. This entertaining match broke the record for the highest combined points scored in an MLR game.
The two teams started the scoring slugfest right out of the gate. DC drew first blood five minutes in, and New York responded five minutes later with a penalty try to tie the game at 7 all. Continuing the pattern of scoring every five minutes, Waisake Naholo scored his first MLR try to give New York a 12-7 lead at the 15-minute mark.
DC would regain the lead at the 20-minute mark to make it 14-12 in what would be their last lead of the game. New York answered quickly with a Kaleb Geiger try and conversion from MLR’s all-time points leader Sam Windsor, his first of six on the day. Soon after, Jason Emery delivered a perfect grubber kick that Ed Fidow would collect and take off with, scoring an untouched try. New York went into the half leading 26-21 having already earned the four-try bonus point.
New York opened the second half scoring three tries in the first 10 minutes. Conor McManus scored on New York’s first possession of the half. Fidow and Naholo both scored their second tries of the game at the 46th and 49th minute mark, respectively.
Despite the comfortable 47-21 lead, New York and Fidow weren’t done. At the 52-minute mark, Fidow completed his hat trick after collecting another grubber kick, this time from Nehe Milner-Skudder. The “try machine” now leads the league with 12 tries on the year.
New York’s last points of the match would come off the bench from former All Black Andy Ellis. DC would stage a comeback towards the end, but it proved to be too little too late as New York held on to complete the season sweep.
Rebounding from a loss, New York set a franchise record for most points scored in a match. It was a historic game as both teams combined for an MLR match record 108 points, beating the previous record of 101 points set last week.
Sunday’s game was also notable for being the first time New York deployed Milner-Skudder and Naholo together in the back three. Fans have anxiously waited to see the two on the field simultaneously, and they got their wish right in time for the postseason.
New York currently sits as the third seed with 52 points tied with Rugby ATL, who they will face in the playoffs. A win next week and a Rugby ATL loss would give New York home advantage for their round one matchup. New York closes out the regular season against the first place New England Free Jacks in a primetime matchup this Friday, June 3rd.
By Jason Piccolomini