Heartbreak at Home, Seawolves Just Short Against New York


TUKWILA, WASHINGTON (May 3, 2021) - The Seattle Seawolves hosted Rugby United New York (RUNY) in their home opener at Starfire Stadium on Sunday, May 2. It had been 421 days since a Major League Rugby match was played in Seattle after the cancelled season in 2020 and five road matches to start the 2021 season. A strong first half showed promise for the home side in front of limited capacity fans but a final minute chance from a penalty kick to win the match flew to the right of the uprights, 21-23 Rugby United New York.

Seattle kicked off to New York to start the match, who collected the ball and began their attack with forward crashes. New York attempt to kick-pass over the Seattle defense but wing Ross Neal was first to the ball as he popped off the pass to fly half Kieran Joyce who kicked it back. New York knocked on the ball, giving Seattle a scrum in RUNY’s half. A well-executed set piece play saw Joyce hit insider center Shalom Suniula who drug across to dish a no-look pass back inside to Neal, who broke cleanly and fended his way to his third try of the season. Joyce converted, 7-0 Seattle at the 6th  minute. The next passage of play saw smart kicking decisions from both teams, and a penalty by New York gave Joyce a chance to attempt a drop goal. He missed, but the play was brought back to the penalty mark. Joyce teed up a penalty kick, but it was a miss. New York restarted play with a 22 meter drop out kick that scrumhalf JP Smith caught and moved to flanker Andrew Durutalo. Penalty against Seattle allowed New York to put their first points on the board with a successful penalty kick, 7-3 Seattle at the 15th minute. A knock on for each side slowed down attacking opportunities and a no-wrap tackle from Seattle allowed RUNY to add another three points off the kicking tee, 7-6 Seattle at the 26th minute.

The home team got back on track with pressure and double tackles, ultimately seeing Smith forcing RUNY to spill the ball and quick hands from Neal saw him scoop-and-score his second try of the match and fourth of the season. 14-6, Seattle at the 31st. More tactical kicking and quick reads by Seattle’s defense helped set up a Seawolves line out just outside New York’s try zone. A clean throw and mauling effort saw hooker James Malcolm over for his fourth try of the season. Joyce’s conversion was good, 21-6 at the 38th minute. Just before half, New York got another penalty and Joyce attempted another penalty kick. It hung wide left, 21-6 Seattle at halftime. Just before half, New York got another penalty and Joyce attempted another penalty kick. It hangs wide left, 21-6 Seattle at halftime.

A slower start for both sides in the second half saw New York over for their first try of the match with their forwards. Kick is good from the sidelines, 21-13 at the 47th minute. Possession changes and penalties ate up 20 minutes of live play, going into to 60th minute water break without a score change. A few miscues in the set piece allow New York to march down the field and score another try with their forward pack. Kick after added another two points, 21-20 Seattle at the 73rd minute. Seattle kicked off to New York and the visiting team burst up the middle for a breakaway run that number eight Riekert Hattingh shut down, but Seattle was too slow to catch up and was penalized trying to recover. RUNY called for the kicking tee and took the lead with the additional three points. 21-23 New York at the 75th minute. RUNY exits after the final kick off as Suniula collects and carries hard midfield, catching an arm from a high tackle across the neck and head at the 79th minute. A chance to steal the lead in the final minute of the match was presented to Seattle. 40 meters out from the uprights, fullback Mat Turner set up the kicking tee. His strike flew high but sailed just right of the right post and the assistant referees’ flags stayed down. Final score, 21-23 New York.

Neal (2) 6’ / 31’
Malcolm 38’

Joyce (3) 6’ / 31’ / 38’ 

The Seattle Seawolves (1-5) stay home once again for week 8 of the Major League Rugby regular season. West coast rival, San Diego Legion (2-5), will take on the Seawolves in Tukwila, Washington on Sunday, May 9. Kickoff is at 5:00 PM PT on ROOT SPORTS and The Rugby Network. Match capacity is limited, and the match is sold out. Learn more about our return to Starfire here.