Game Preview: Warriors travel to Massachusetts
Herriman, Utah — The Utah Warriors will travel to Weymouth, Massachusetts this weekend to face off with the New England Free Jacks at 2:30 p.m. MDT in Union Point Stadium in another Major League Rugby (MLR) National Broadcast on the CBS Sports Network.
The Warriors are 2-0 in regular-season play so far, and the Free Jacks are 1-1. Utah currently sits in second place in the league, behind the LA Giltinis, while New England is in seventh.
The Warriors began the 2021 season with a win on the road in Austin and returned home last weekend for their home opener against Toronto, beating the Arrows 39-24. The Free Jacks also began the season on the road, with a loss in Los Angeles. However, they are currently coming into this weekend off a shutout away victory against Houston, beating the Sabercats 31-0 in Houston.
“New England is a very strong side coming off a big win in Houston,” Utah Warriors assistant coach Shaun Davies said. “They’ll have a lot of confidence, which means we’ll be looking to start fast and take that momentum away at their home field.”
The Warriors have shown that they are a strong first-half team so far this season. However, their opponents have been able to tighten up the gaps in the second half. Davies said they are looking to improve this weekend by maintaining their momentum into the second half.
“I’ll be looking for the guys to bring a full 80-minute performance,” Davies said. “We’ve looked really good in patches but tend to let teams back in around that third 20 minute period after halftime. If we can come out fast after halftime and keep mentally switched on for the full 80, that’ll be a win for me!”
A notable matchup this weekend will be Utah Warriors captain Bailey Wilson with his older brother and Free Jacks fullback Mitch Wilson. The two, who were always teammates growing up, will meet on the pitch as opponents for the second year in a row. Wilson said in an interview this summer that he gained bragging rights at family functions after the Warriors beat the Free Jacks, 39-33, last season in Las Vegas. Wilson expressed excitement for this weekend and hopes to keep his bragging rights.
“I’m really looking forward to this weekend’s match against the Free Jacks,” Wilson said. “It will be exciting to play against my brother, who I haven’t seen since last year’s match in Las Vegas. It’s been nice to have the bragging rights for a year, and I’m going to do everything I can to keep them for another year.”
As previously mentioned by Utah Warriors head coach Shawn Pittman, road wins will be key this season. The Warriors will be looking to earn another away-game victory this weekend, and Pittman said it will be a challenge but Utah is up for it.
“We’re really looking forward to the challenge,” Pittman said. “New England is a very good side that plays some class rugby. We have to be sharp this weekend and plan for some unexpected tactics that might not be trending in their game currently.”
All Utah Warriors games broadcast on The Rugby Network can be accessed live by both domestic and international viewers.
UTAH WARRIORS VS. NEW ENGLAND FREE JACKS
Date: April 3, 2021
Time: 2:30 p.m. MDT
Where: Union Point Stadium (Weymouth, MA)
Broadcast: CBS Sports Network (National Broadcast) & The Rugby Network (Internationally)
Radio: ESPN 700 and ESPN 960
Utah Warriors Gameday Roster:
- Franco van den Berg
- Sama Malolo
- Angus Maclellan
- Aston Fortuin
- Matt Jensen
- Lance Williams
- Bailey Wilson (C)
- Jurie Van Vuuren
- Fraser Hurst
- Hagen Schulte
- Josh Whippy
- Calvin Whiting
- Tyler Fisher
- Mikey Te’o (VC)
- Cliven Loubser
- Tuvere Vugakoto
- Alex Tucci
- Olive Kilifi
- James Mocke
- Thomas Tu’avao
- Danny Christensen
- Mika Kruse
- Joe Mano
*Roster is subject to change without notice up to the start of the match
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