RUNY aim to keep hot form going into Utah after dominating win in Houston
After a tough week against Seattle, Rugby United New York bounced back in a big way in Houston last week. With a 5 try domination against the Sabercats it seems as if Seattle has lit a fire under our boys feet. The Roosters looked like a completely different squad out there against the Sabercats with a reinvigorated tenacity on defense and an exciting showing with ball in hand. The bonus point 35-8 win bumped RUNY back into the top 4 in the standings and removed all doubt that the opening two close games were simple luck. Our boys are now 2nd in the power rankings without a single game at home under their belt.
The Utah Warriors in their games thus far have shown a little bit of everything and sit 1-2-1. With a close 21-19 loss against the Gold in their last game, a 26-26 draw against Glendale which saw the Warriors give up all 26 points in the second half, a 21-10 loss to the Legion and a 17-9 win against the Elite, the Warriors have given their fans a plethora of performances. In their season thus far Ara Elkington has been a force on the flank coming in the top 5 in the league for tackles made at 70. He has also been a factor on offence bagging 2 tries and being one of Utah’s first options in the forwards for a hard hitting run at the line with 163 meters with ball in hand. When running through the backs the Warriors will look to get the ball into winger Fetu’u Vainikolo’s hands who has run an impressive 274 meters with ball in hand in 24 carries.
For your Roosters 3 men were named to the MLR ‘First XV of the Week’ James Denise who bagged himself two meat pies in Houston, The Butcher Dylan Fawsitt who crashed the ball over for a five pointer and went a perfect 15/15 on his tackles bringing the physicality on the defensive end and sure to delight was Ben Foden in his natural position of Fullback, leading all players in the blue and orange in both carry meters with 85 and kicking meters with 201, the England international wound back the clock in Houston putting on a master class for the Roosters, even grabbing himself his first try in the MLR. Sure to make Coach Tolks happy was the true team effort displayed by RUNY in Houston. The play was selfless and the statistics seemed evenly spread, with 13 members of the starting XV getting into double figures for carry meters. On the defensive end the tackling load wasn’t heavily placed on one or two key defensive players with 8 Roosters tackling in the teens and 3 guys sitting on 9 made tackles.
Your RUNY Team:
This week the Rooster’s are aided by the return of USA Eagle Nate Brakeley into the camp who will start in place of MacDonald. Chris Sullivan will switch in for Paddy Ryan in the front row and will remain alongside ‘The Butcher’ at hooker. Coach Tolkin aims to give inside center Will Leonard a rest in order to give him time to get rid of some nagging injuries before the teams home opener so Mark O’Keeffe who has been phenomenal in his first 2 starts will shift from outside to inside center and swiss army knife Chris Mattina will make his 4th start in his 3rd starting position at outside center. Try scorer Derek Lipscomb will then come into the starters for Mattina. As a nod to his phenomenal play last week Ben Foden will remain at fullback and as the team’s leading ball carrier look for him to continue looking for the ball in varying slots in the back line. In the reserves Mike Saint Claire will potentially be capped as he takes Lipscomb’s now empty spot.
Players to Watch:
Losing someone who is as strong as Will Leonard is on both sides of the ball is never easy for a Coach, Leonard leads the team in tackles and is second in carrying meters. However in 2 and a half games Mark O’Keeffe out of Lansdowne FC has been an absolute weapon. He is a keen ball carrier, racking up 23 carries for 251 meters and is 90% on his tackles made making him a perfect replacement for Leonard off Cathal’s shoulder. O’Keeffe with his fast feet and aggressive mentality have made him a big part of the RUNY XV with games like his showing against Seattle, where he racked up 145 meters with ball in hand, a showing of what happens when O’Keeffe catches fire.
In the forward pack look for Nate Brakeley to return in stride. Leading the team in lineout takes and tackles made before he left, Brakeley cherished the role of team work horse. At the lineout he made it difficult for the opposition to get clean takes as well as ensuring that coach Kees had no worries on RUNY’s own thrown ins. The likes of Denise, Deacon, Hughston and Cassidy have been huge for our Roosters in maintaining a high level of physicality against the opposition whilst Brakeley has been on international duties but the Mountain is sure to quickly step up when he takes the field against Utah.
This is our last game before we come home and nothing is more sure to get you frothing at the mouth for our opener against the Arrows than the Magners watch party at the Pig ‘n Whistle. Surrounded by your fellow Rooster Boosters we want to get you HYPED for next week and swagged out in our merch. Gear will be present, tickets will be given away, Callum Mackintosh will sing ‘Flower of Scotland’ at half time. But only if the PIG. IS. PACKED. Be there at 8PM for a 9PM kickoff. Or if you are unable to make it fire up at home on SNY, ESPN+ and NBC Philly and DC. For our foreign roosters she’ll be live on Facebook Watch.
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- John Quill
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- Paddy Ryan
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