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In the third week of American Rugby Premiership competition, Mystic River and NYAC took advantage of the Boston area clubs to produce two high scoring results. After losing in the DI National Semifinal rematch to Old Blue, Mystic River rebounded to crush Boston, 86-0. NYAC was on bye last Saturday and got ready for next weekend’s rivalry match against Old Blue with a 38-7 win over the Boston Irish. The Wolfhounds have to regroup fast as they are on the road against Mystic River on Saturday, while Boston has a bye.
Last Saturday’s defeat against Old Blue didn’t linger for long as the Malden, Mass. club destroyed Boston, 86-0, for its first home game of the season. Mystic didn’t let an early yellow card stop its momentum as the home team ripped off 14 tries. Mystic retained the majority of the possession and turned offense into their best defense late in the game for the shutout.
“We were very focused staying within our system,” Mystic head coach Josh Smith said. “It was a battle of wills. They are going to pressure us and force our hand and we need to stay within the systems and not overreact to any pressure. Eventually, if we executed, we would wear them down and stretch the field on them. It was nip and tuck for the first 20 minutes and then we started to break them down.”
Wear them it did as rookie St. Bonaventure product John Sullivan scored three tries and Alatasi Tupou, Atoa Ripley, and Nick Fugiwara each notched a pair of tries. Sean Rafferty, Vincent Daley, Chris Frazier, Thomas Thekaekera, and Jon Kokinda each splashed into the tryzone in the rout.
Newcomers John Sullivan and Patrick Lynch earned praise from Coach Smith for their solid effort on the field. “[Sullivan] had a hat trick yesterday and gave us some great stuff defensively. Offensively, he’s a huge wrecker with ball in hand and it’s just the learning curve we are working with now... Lynch was solid in the lineout, did all the dirty work, and was good on all of the restarts. He does a lot of the grunt work that gets lost and that has been missing over the last couple of years.”
Coming off the bye week, NYAC was fresh for action and took its pent-up aggression on the Boston Irish. The NYAC forward pack dominated the test setting a platform for the backs to attack from. NYAC scored 38 straight points unitl the last ten minutes of play when the Wolfhounds avoided the goose egg with a try by James Philips.
“We started off strongly for the second time in a row and built a score,” Mike Quinn, the head coach of NYAC said. “In the first minute, we were up 7-0. We scored four tries in quick succession and then a mixture of tuning off, building that lead, and Boston Irish showing some resolve made the second half tougher.”
Quinn attributed the key to the victory to the strong play of his forwards. “Our front row and impact subs that we brought on in the second half was integral into what we wanted to do. They built a really great platform. It was a victory built on what the pack did for us. They got us a lot of good ball and were very good in the set piece. From there, they put in all the grand work for us to score our tries.”
With Old Blue on the docket for next Saturday at home, Coach Quinn will be ready for the cross-town rival. “They are very strong at scrum time and play low percentage rugby. [Old Blue] tries to pressurize you and when they are in their own half, there are a lot of exits. They use the kick a lot and use the forwards for attack. They try to grind you down. We are going to have to match them up front and if we do, we can hopefully put them away for the victory. We have the talent at our disposal in our backline that we would be able to do some damage.”