Match 5 Preview:

New England Free Jacks vs Miami Sharks

When: Saturday, April 6, 2024 4:30pm EST

Where: Veterans Memorial Stadium, Quincy, MA

Watch: NBC Sports Boston, The Rugby Network

 

Match Preview:

After a Round 5 bye following their 22-17 win in Chicago, the Free Jacks are back in Quincy this weekend as they host the Miami Sharks for the first time ever.

After a strong start to the season, New England currently sits 1st in the Eastern Conference with a 3-1 record and is tied in points with NOLA. Miami currently sits 5th in the conference with a 1-4 record after a difficult schedule to start off their first season in the league.

Fresh off of a bye week, the Free Jacks should be fairly well-rested in their return home to face the Sharks. Expect fly-half Jayson Potroz to lead the team once again after a stellar player of the match performance in Chicago, and no. 8 Wian Conradie to bring the physicality and workrate from the pack as usual. Also worth mentioning, is the return of two very important players from the Free Jacks 2023 Championship campaign, Le Roux Malan and Mitch Jacobson, who could be back at Fort Quincy this weekend for the first time this season. Malan is available for selection after recovering from a lower leg injury suffered in the 2023 World Cup, and the back rower, Jacobson, returns from New Zealand and has joined the team for the remainder of the season.

 

Scouting

Miami has had a few tough matchups to start off the season, losing to Chicago and San Diego at home, and Seattle and Houston away, but they’ve been competitive in every single one of those games. Their sole win came at home in Round 4 against Anthem Carolina. 

Last week they were close to upsetting San Diego, as they led 21-5 at the half, but the former Western Conference champions came back to snatch the victory from them in a thrilling 22-21 ending.

The Sharks have a big South American contingent in their squad, and will look to play a fast-paced, risk-taking brand of rugby, led by captain and Argentina international Tomás Cubelli, and Uruguayan internationals Manuel Ardao and Felipe Etcheverry. In the pack, watch out for a couple former Free Jacks who will look to make a statement in their old stomping grounds, locks Stan Van den Hoven and Tomás Casares.

 

All time against Miami

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