Wian Condradie (ball in hand) scores the only try of the match 23 minutes in

Key Moment

The match was in the balance in the latter stages when a double turnover resulted in Dallas chipping the ball into New England’s 22. Wayne van der Bank scrambled back to carry the ball back into New England’s in-goal resulting in a 80th minute scrum to Dallas on New England’s 5 meter line. 

New England’s replacement front row in Kyle Ciquera, Andrew Quattrin, and Cole Keith stepped up, winning a crucial scrum penalty and sealing the victory for the Free Jacks.

Player of the Match presented by Quincy College

Back Row Joe Johnston had a busy performance with 10 ball carries and 16 tackles made. Into his third year with the Free Jacks, the US qualified back row always plays with his heart on his sleeve. 

Alloy Therapeutics Play of the Game

In a weather disrupted low scoring affair, Wian Conradie scored the only try of the night. In the 24th minute Wian carried off the back of a New England scrum on Dallas’ 5 meter, shrugging off Roura and Elias to cross the try line.

Box Score Gems

The Free Jacks had the upper hand in the set piece winning 4 scrum penalties and winning 100% of lineout ball compared to Dallas’ 80%. The Free Jacks forced the Jackals into making a whopping 205 tackles, but struggled to turn possession and gainline dominance into points in the error ridden contest. New England’s 13 conceded penalty’s hamstrung the home side, as the game stuttered for flow and came down to the wire.

Quote of the Night

“Credit to Dallas who brought a lot of want, fight and physicality to the occasion this weekend,” praised General Manager, Tom Kindley. The Jackals boast an improved set piece and put in a mammoth effort on defense with over 200 tackles made, turning the game into a real arm wrestle. Dallas probably managed the trying conditions better than we did and will certainly go on to tip up a number of teams this year. Thanks again to an awesome crowd who braved the conditions, we look forward to taking some key learnings from this match as we move on to the Utah Warriors in Salt Lake City this weekend. See you all on April 8 when we take on Chicago for the first time!”

Big Picture

Head Coach Scott Mathie made six changes to the prior week’s roster against New York, giving starting roles to four players for the first time this season, along with new match day captain honors to Mitch Jacobson, and young American talent Zach Bastres was able to get key playing time off the bench for the first time.  Creating depth in key positions will help propel the team forward into some challenging matches ahead.

Overall, trying conditions turned the game against Dallas into a real tussle, with the Free Jacks finding a way in the end to hold the Jackals off their first win for another week and taking an important four competition points from the match, maintaining first position on the Eastern Conference and an impressive home record at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Quincy (9-2 all time).

Up Next

The Free Jacks visit the Utah Warriors next Friday, March 31 at 9:30 p.m. ET. The next home match is the following Saturday, April 8 at 2 p.m. ET against the Chicago Hounds for the first time in MLR history. Prior to the match the stadium will be buzzing with The first annual Breeze Touch Rugby Tournament and 3rd annual cornhole championship! Gates open at 7AMET and the day’s festivities include a Frose and Fromage Wine & Cheese Fest from 12-2ET as well as live music from Buoys of Summer and Orleans.

Outside center, Ben LeSage looks to make a move on Dallas defender Adriaan Booysen

Full Match Report

On a cold, wet, windswept Saturday at Veteran’s Memorial Stadium, the New England Free Jacks survived a spirited upset bid by the Dallas Jackals, forcing an 80th-minute scrum penalty on their own 5-meter line to lock down a hard-fought 10-9 victory.

The Free Jacks improved to 4-1 with the win — their third straight — strengthening their grip on first place in the Eastern Conference. Dallas fell to 0-6. 

Free Jacks No. 8 Wian Conradie scored the match’s lone try off a scrum deep in Dallas territory in the 24th minute. Flyhalf Jayson Potroz kicked a successful conversion following Conradie’s try and also converted his lone penalty kick, which tied the game at 3-3 in the 18th minute.

All of the Jackals’ points came off the boot of Martin Elias. The flyhalf went 3-for-4 on his penalty attempts, making kicks in the 13th, 40th and 52nd minute and missing in the 27th. Elias’ 52nd-minute penalty was the only score of the second half for either side. 

With temperatures hovering in the high 30s and rain steadily falling throughout the match, ball handling was an issue for both teams. Dallas’ backs had multiple unforced knock-ons, including one that helped set up Potroz’s penalty kick, and New England turned the ball over multiple times in or near the Jackals’ try zone. 

The Free Jacks led 10-6 at half time after successfully repelling nearly a dozen consecutive try-line pick-and-go’s by Dallas’ forwards. They then dominated possession over the final 40 minutes, thrilling the home crowd with a pair of impressive driving mauls that each gained 20-plus meters. 

Substitute hooker Andrew Quattrin nearly scored to extend New England’s lead in the 64th minute, but upon video review, the referee ruled he had been held up in the try zone. 

Prop Joel Hintz, hooker Kianu Kereru-Symes and scrumhalf Kieran McClea all notched their first Free Jacks starts on Saturday. Flanker Mitch Jacobson served as captain in place of injured skipper Josh Larsen. 

Up next: The Free Jacks visit the Utah Warriors next Friday, March 31 at 9:30 p.m. ET. The next home match is the following Saturday, April 8 at 2 p.m. ET against the Chicago Hounds at Veteran’s Memorial Stadium.

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