Warriors victorious on the road in Las Vegas against New England Free Jacks
Las Vegas, Nevada – The Utah Warriors battle back late in the second half to come away with a win against the New England Free Jacks, 39-33.
The Warriors knew they had a challenge ahead of them as the Free Jacks are coming off of a strong offensive performance last weekend about Rugby United New York, putting 34 points on the board and holding RUNY to only 14 points
Hagen Schulte opened up the match by hitting a penalty kick to put the Warriors up early. The Free Jacks answered with w Deion Mikesell try 13 minutes into the match.
The Warriors found themselves within the Free Jacks’ 22 numerous times, but costly mistakes kept them from capitalizing on the field position.
Schulte converted another penalty kick to put the Warriors back on top. Moments later, Warrior wing Fetu’u Vainikolo, would break numerous tackles from the midline to punch down Utah’s first try.
Utah would end the first half up 13-12.
The Free Jacks came out firing in the beginning of the second half, scoring two unanswered trys. However discipline became an issue for New England as Brad Hemopo and Poasa Maqanula Waqanibau were both sent off with yellow cards within minutes of each other.
Captain Dwayne Polataivao scored the first try in the second half for the Warriors off of pickup from the scrum, taking advantage of the weak side. Schulte would also take advantage of the Free Jacks being a man down by earning his first try of the season. “We showed a lot of belief today. That took a team effort all 23 contributed and I am very proud of the boys.” Polataivao said in regards to the team effort. “We started well and finished well. Thank you to our supporters for coming out in numbers here in Vegas. We appreciate it. It’s only the start and we will take the confidence we built today into next week.”
The trys would keep coming for Utah, with Saia ‘Uhila putting down his first try of the season and a potential moment of the match with a beautiful sequence from Gannon Moore, Josh Whippy and Michael Baska finishing it off to put the nail in the coffin with the Warriors grabbing their first win of the 2020 season.
Head Coach Chris Latham shared his thoughts after earning his first win with the Warriors. “Very proud of the efforts from our entire team. It was a 23 man win today. We know as a group we are well away from our best. So we will enjoy our win but we won’t let it get to us. We have so much more growth in us.”
Coach Ben Nicholls was pleased with the result and how the team fought adversity. “Really proud of the boys. We still have a lot to learn, but we showed great character to come back from behind and finish on top.”
Schulte takes the man of the match honors and gave his thoughts. “I thought the intent from the boys was awesome! The forwards did a really good job of setting the tone early and we all played with big smiles on our faces.”
Try and Conversion
Utah Warriors @ Austin Gilgronis
Date: Saturday, Feb 22
Venue: Bold Stadium, Austin TX
Kickoff: 6:00PM MST
Broadcast:KMYU & ESPN+
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