Free Jacks Secure Win In Front Of Record Breaking Home Crowd 26-24

By: Rachel Maccarrone

QUINCY- The New England Free Jacks returned home this week to face the Dallas Jackals after back-to-back games on the road. Entertaining a record-setting crowd of 4,821 on Sunday, the Free Jacks battled tough competition, winning 26-24.

In a preview of the week’s other Dallas vs. Boston matchup, the Free Jacks competed with the Dallas Jackals while the Boston Celtics prepared to face off against the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday. 

Five minutes into the match, Free Jacks’ Captain Jayson Potroz started strong, scoring a try and conversion to give the Free Jacks a 7-0 lead. Tying the game at the 18-minute mark, Dallas’ Tomas Cubilla made a try followed by a good conversion from Martin Elias.

At the 32-minute mark, Dallas took their first lead of the match, 10-7, with a penalty kick by Martin Elias going into halftime.

Similar to the first half, the Free Jacks started off fast out of the break. Free Jacks Andrew Quattrin scored a try (conversion failed), making the score 12-10. Soon after, the Free Jacks forced Dallas into a turnover that Wayne van der Bank converted into a try and a Potroz conversion for a 19-10 lead.

The Free Jacks’ momentum continued at the 48-minute mark when Ethan Fryer made a game-changing play, intercepting a toss from Dallas and running down two-thirds of the field to score a try untouched. The crowd erupted in cheers as the conversion was successful, upping the score to 26-10. Dallas answered back with a try from Sam Tuifua, keeping the match close 26-17.

With one minute left in the match, Dallas’s Tomas Malanos added a try between the goal post, making the try an automatic seven points, setting the final score, 26-24.

“We knew we had to come back and bring a strong physical presence. When you play against a team that is really physical, you need to move the ball to find the spaces against them, I think we did that to a degree, we just didn’t take our chances in the first half. Thankfully we came out in the second half,” said head coach Scott Mathie. 

The defending Major League Rugby (MLR) champions remain in first place in the Eastern Conference with a 8-4-0 record (40 points). The Free Jacks play next Saturday, when they visit Old Glory DC at 7:00 p.m. ET. The match will air on NBC Sports Boston.

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