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The American Rugby Premiership finished its inaugural season with a couple of rivalries last weekend. NYAC defeated Old Blue 34-25 and Boston downed the Irish Wolfhounds 39-31 to complete the first ARP campaign.
Old Blue opened the scoring with a 40-meter drop goal from James Bird. NYAC reclaimed the lead with a pair of penalties before Bird dotted down to give OB the 10-6 lead. Athletic Club notched its first score of the game to retake the lead, but Old Blue scored the final 10 points of the half to take a 20-13 lead going into the break.
“Old Blue definitely started the stronger, but it went back and forth,” NYAC coach Neil McMillan said.
NYAC got the first score of the second half through Troy Hall, but OB retook the lead with an unconverted try. Kirk Hamilton evened the scoring at 25 a-piece. NYAC would add two penalties and a late try while blanking Old Blue to win 34-25.
Despite having a prop sent off for multiple yellow cards, NYAC was able to withstand pressure from Old Blue. “It took a pretty good defensive effort to keep them out,” McMillan added.
After winning the local derby, NYAC will shift its focus to the DI USA Rugby National Championships. The boys will have a weekend with no competitive action before heading into tournament action May 23rd.
“The way we wanted to finish the league was finishing first and beating Life but they fully deserved it beating us convincingly both times,” said McMillan. “All we had left to fight for was the playoffs. We are lucky in the fact that we have a shot at a national championship. It was we are gearing up to do over the next couple of weeks.”
The bean town rivalry renewed with a back-and-forth affair between the Irish Wolfhounds and Boston. The lead changed several times in the first half with the Wolfhounds taking a seven-point lead into the break. Boston, however, scored three tries in quick succession to pull away in the second half. The Wolfhounds cut into the lead but could never get within one score an ultimately lost 39-31.
“I thought it was good to finish the season with a win,” Boston captain Sean Treacy said.
Boston and the Wolfhounds will meet up again next weekend but will be playing together against the British Police Rugby. Both teams will be looking to use the summer to play 7s and get ready for the second year of the ARP. Treacy was very pleased with the way the ARP played out logistically, and indicated that there are rumors of expanding the number of teams.
“I thought it was good having year round competition," he said. "I think with some of the other structures that they have tried it only gradually got more competitive. The ARP made the whole season count and the games from the fall carried over to the Spring.”