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The third week of North Atlantic action saw both home sides secure dominant victories. At Pine Banks Park in Malden, Mass., Mystic River defeated Hartford 60-19, and in New York, White Plains notched 47 first-half points to cruise to a 57-28 victory over Amoskeag.
Amokseag slept through most of the first half, allowing White Plains runners time and space. Combined with 17 missed tackles and five penalties, White Plains was able to rack up 47 points.
“They had an impressive first half. We let them play the game that they were playing,” Amoskeag head coach, Patrick Van Rooyen told Rugby Today. “In that first half they ran pretty freely without very much defense from the Amoskeag side.”
Amoskeag righted the ship in the second half, but it was too little too late. “We dominated both the scoring and the game in the second half but it was too late to make up the deficit of the first half,” Van Rooyen added.
Mystic River, like White Plains, jumped out to an early 20-0 and managed to put up 60 points in large part to some lineup changes. 7s Eagle Pono Haitsuka moved to flyhalf and distributed the ball well.
“He set up the offense and did a good job putting away runners. He did a real good job spreading the ball,” Mystic River coach Josh Smith told Rugby Today.
Normally, Mystic River relies on its backs to spread the ball wide, but they were able to use the forwards to push Hartford around. “We banged them up the middle and broke them down," said Smith. "We ended up breaking down their forwards. Their forwards were their weakness that we looked to isolate."
Forward Mike Mahoney led the charge with two tries for Mystic. The Mystic pack was able to monopolize possession thanks in large part to solid play in the set piece and producing turnover ball. “We won about 80-percent of our defensive lineouts," added Smith. "The key to the game was the breakdown. After two or three phases we were able to take the ball away.”
Haitsuka and Mahoney received co-man of the match awards. At 3-0, Mystic River is in sole possession of first place in the North Atlantic.