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Mystic River continued its impressive start to the 2015-2016 campaign with a decisive 42-5 win over reigning DI champions NYAC. The Mystics narrowly lost to the New York side in the semifinals last spring but exacted some revenge at Pine Banks Park in Malden Mass. Saturday.
The New England side dominated the game from the start and jumped out to a 39-0 lead before NYAC got its only try of the game. Mystic River dominated possession throughout forcing NYAC to play a lot of defense. In the second half, NYAC started to falter and gave up some points. Backs Alatasi Tupou and Chris Frazier each dotted down twice in the victory.
“Mystic were one hundred percent the better team” NYAC coach Neil McMillan told Rugby Today.
Mystic River coach Josh Smith stressed two main points in the team’s success. He indicated that flyhalf Pono Haitsuka spearheaded the team around the field and praised the play of his back row.
“He had a massive comeback performance,” Smith said of his flyhalf. “He really had a lot of good carries early on. NYAC really took away the outside on us. Pono did a good job of burning them up the middle and finding the runners up the middle.”
The loose forwards John Kokinda, Sean Rafferty and Joe “Hollywood” Shurmaitis dominated the game according to Smith. With the infusion of new talent on the team this season, it was the ten-year Mystic, Schrumaitais, who was one of the standouts.
“Our six, seven and eight were outstanding,” added Smith. “They really were the difference offensively and defensively for us. Our back row defensively was the story of the match. They did a good job getting up and working NYAC back inside and slowing their ball down. It was a real credit to those three guys. To be honest they are the real meat of the club. Those three guy.”
For NYAC, this was its worst loss in five or six seasons. With a number of players recovering from the World Cup, a hand few more having moved on from the club, and several missing due to other commitments, NYAC had a bit of a depleted squad this week.
“Last year with a full complement of players, I think we were definitely stronger that day,” said McMillan. “You see that Mystic have grown. It is nice to get competition like that and that will be the result we will be interested in when they come back to us next spring.”