Rugby New York (9-4) extend their winning streak to three with an electrifying 30-22 win over the Seattle Seawolves (7-7) in Hoboken on Sunday afternoon.
A sell-out crowd came into JFK Stadium anticipating a back-and-forth battle between two playoff contenders, and both teams delivered in putting on a show.
Rugby New York struck first five minutes into the game thanks to an Andrew Coe try and Jack Heighton conversion making it 7-0. Keeping their foot on the gas, New York quickly scored again. A penalty kick from Heighton made it 10-0 after 10 minutes of play.
Ten unanswered points tied up the game, but New York capitalized on a Seattle penalty at the 40-minute mark. Heighton converted another penalty kick to give New York a 13-10 lead on the final play of the first half.
Each team saw their offenses come to life in the second half. New York picked up where they left off and scored five minutes in on a try by Dylan ‘The Butcher’ Fawsitt. A failed conversion kept the score 18-10.
A Seawolves try and conversion made it 18-17, but New York answered Seattle again, this time at the 63-minute mark. A Kaleb Geiger try made it 23-17, but New York couldn’t connect on the conversion for the second straight attempt.
In an offensive tug-of-war, Seattle responded with another try to make it 23-22. As the Hoboken crowd held their beath, Seattle failed the conversion thus preventing them from taking their first lead of the game.
Holding on by a thread trying to fend off Seattle’s comeback attempts, New York gained life with three minutes remaining. Up against the ropes, Seattle couldn’t handle New York’s scrum power and conceded a penalty try, proving to be the dagger.
The two teams jockeying for position caused them to knock down the goalpost. Cheering was preceded by gasps and laughter from the stands in what was one of the more unusual tries scored.
Behind the roaring Hoboken crowd, Rugby New York hung on to beat the 2x MLR Champions 30-22 without trailing one the entire game. The fourth and final try gave them the bonus point.
With 47 points, Rugby New York is now in sole possession of the second seed in the Eastern Conference heading into their final three games.
Despite the thrilling win, the team never wants to leave a doubt of what the final score will be, according to Fawsitt.
“As a team, we are still chasing that perfect 80-minute performance,” Fawsitt said. “We were able to ride the momentum, and I’m looking forward to next week’s challenge.”
Momentum was a key theme in New York’s victory with the crowd being a vital factor, according to scrum half Connor Buckley.
“We talk about momentum a lot and when we lose it, we’ll huddle up,” Buckley said. “You can see which team has the momentum throughout the game, and today we felt it.”
The Hoboken faithful will have another opportunity to cause a momentum shift May 22nd against third seeded Rugby ATL in the last regular season home game.
By Jason Piccolomini.
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