Old Glory Win at Long Last in Segra Field Stunner


Old Glory have won for the first time since early March today with a brilliant 42-31 victory over Mid-Atlantic rivals Rugby New York. We’d never want to do it the easy way, would we?

New York were quick out of the gates, playing with flair from the off which clearly flustered the hosts, who were forced into a flurry of early penalties. One of these penalties was kicked to touch, allowing New York a very early scoring chance which they grabbed with both hands, putting us seven points in the hole after just three minutes.

Old Glory began to grow into the game, however, keeping the ball in hand, accumulating good phases in possession, and looking a bit more assured in defense. That said, the penalties came back to bite again, with New York scoring to go up by a score of 0-10 after just thirteen minutes.

We managed our first try of the game just minutes later, however. Old Glory began piling on the pressure and finally found an opportunity to score as Danny Tusitala hit a box kick over the line which was spilled by the New York full back. Collin Grosse pounced on it, making a run before moving it wide to Willy Talataina, who scored our first of the day to lessen New York’s lead.

The visitors scored next on the right wing through a crisp offload to extend their lead, but the joy was short lived as our very own Lautaro Bavaro crashed through the New York line to take the score back to 12-17. Bavaro and Tusitala made things difficult for our guests all day long, dominating the breakdown and dictating the attack to fuel our offense while neutralizing that of New York.

Despite the promise showed in the first half, mistakes still crept in, with penalties and flimsy rucking leading to another New York try just before the break.

The second half, however, was all about Old Glory. If New York started the first half with pace, then Old Glory started the second at a gallop, putting New York firmly on the back foot as we began to dominate the scrum and force mistakes.

Our first try of the half was created by Thretton Palamo, who also played a bit of a barnstormer, throwing an over-the-top pass on a silver platter to winger Junior Sa’u, who dove in at the corner flag to score with just inches to spare.

From there we continued to pile on the pressure, with creative kicking leading to a crop of chances as well as crucial territory, keeping New York pinned to their own half.

Our next try came through a bruising run from none other than Jamason Fa’anana-Schultz. The captain received the ball on the wing and broke three attempted New York tackles to score in style and bring us within touching distance of the win, leaving the score at 22-24 in favour of New York.

You might be surprised to learn that we don’t generally enjoy being behind in the score, so Lautaro Bavaro decided to flip the script. 

Old Glory were cooking with gas after Jama’s try, and that newfound confidence manifested itself in a lineout taken quickly to Danny Tusitala, who powered through the line to setup Bavaro for the try which would put us in the lead for the first time that day.

The win seemed assured, but New York answered immediately, recovering the kickoff before scoring in the corner to dampen our fire a touch.

Nothing to worry about though, we just had to score again. Its just as simple as that sometimes. That try came just minutes later. The kudos for this one have to go to Gradyn Bowd, whose repeated attempts at offensive kicking finally came good as his chip over fell perfectly into Willy Talataina’s hands as he ran in to score under the posts, restoring a slim lead.

With just ten minutes left in the tie, things got nervy, at least for the spectators. The game grew to be incredibly tense, with the result in the balance and both teams giving it their all to claim the result.

One substitution ultimately swung it in our favor: the introduction of the ever-reliable Tito Diaz Bonilla. He’s always good for a couple of points, this time scoring two late penalties (one of which was scored from over 40m out) to add to our tally, securing our first league victory since March 18.

Old Glory are back to winning ways, and what a way to do it! After a slow start, Old Glory nipped their discipline issues in the bud, responding well to early scoring from New York to dominate the second half and win in style. This victory marks our first ever franchise win over the New York Ironworkers, our closest geographical rivals and reigning MLR Champions. This bonus-point victory will move us up in the Eastern Conference standings to fourth place, tied both for points and points differential with third-placed Rugby ATL.

Next time out we will aim to carry on our winning momentum as we host Utah at Segra Field. See you there!

-by Arthur Ferridge, @rthur_ferridge

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