On Sunday, March 8, Rugby United New York traveled to take on San Diego Legion. The last time RUNY and Legion saw each other was during the 2019 Semi-Finals, when Legion won with a 79th-minute try from JP Du Plessis.
A lot was on the line for both teams, Rugby United was scratching their way to the top of the East Conference. However, Legion also had a point to prove. Since the start of 2020 Major League Rugby season, Legion is at the top, with multiple teams working to take their place.
The first part of the game saw a lot of defense and multiple penalties from both sides. Finally, after a scoreless 15 minutes Joe Peiterson, Legion captain opted to kick for points. The penalty kick ramped up the rest of the boys, and during the next couple of phases, Legion was charging for the goal line.
Ryan Matyas, who had his first start of the 2020 season at outside center had an outstanding game, as he manipulated the defense left and right. Matyas also connected well with wing Tira Patterson, which the duo brought on first try of the game.
A few moments after the Patterson try, Legion was battling at their own try line. RUNY had a few chances after Legion was charged with varying penalties. New York opted for another scrum, and the Legion was charged again resulting in a penalty try in New York’s favor. The remaining first half saw two successful penalty kicks for New York, giving them a 13-10 lead at halftime.
The second half continued much like the first, with multiple scrums and penalties for both teams. However, the continuity between Ryan Matyas and Tira Patterson gave Legion enough points to take back the lead.
After another Matyas-Patterson try, Luke Burton gave RUNY a taste of his classic chip kicks. It was caught in the air by Burton himself and then a sneaky offload to the powerful and determined Keni Nasoqeqe. Keni hit the ground 15-meters from the try line, but he kept the ball alive popping it to ‘Man of the Match Josh Furno’, who finished the team try in between the posts.
In the last 20 minutes, New York got a try of their own, bringing the score to 24-20 in favor of Legion. For the remainder of the game, Legion was unable to find the tryline. Josh Furno as well as Ben Mitchell and Keni Nasoqeqe performed mighty in the defensive lineouts. Additionally, the forward pack held up their end, staying strong in the scrums after pressure from multiple forces.
San Diego Legion remains undefeated with a 5-0 perfect standing in the MLR table.
Man of the Match: Josh Furno
Final score: 24-20
*Photo credit: Jonathan Harrison