Seawolves Back in Stride, Hunt Down New England at Home

01-Mar-2020

Tukwila, Washington - Seattle welcomed New England to Starfire Stadium after a 30-minute lightning delay in for a 7:30 pm kick off. After a slow start, Seattle took the lead before the half ended and never gave it up, closing out week four with a 44-29 win over the Free Jacks.

FIRST HALF:

The Free Jacks kicked off deep into Seattle territory and regained possession after a Seawolves’ knock on. Fast play saw New England get onto the scoreboard first with an offload series for a try and a converted kick, 0-7 New England. Continued back and forth play from strategic kicks from both teams ended in a stripped ball from Seattle into New England’s hands for their second try of the evening. A kick from the sidelines was converted, 0-14 New England. A persistent chase off the kickoff rewarded Seattle with a scrum in New England territory as Wing Siti Tamaivena crashed in for a 10-meter gain and set up quick ball for Scrumhalf JP Smith to find newly re-singed Seawolves veteran Peter Tiberio for a try. Flyhalf Ben Cima was good on the extra points, 7-14 New England. A shot for points was taken by the Free Jacks after Seattle was penalized for not rolling away just after the restart but the kick missed its mark. New England still managed to be the next team to score with a mauling drive into Seattle’s try zone. Kick no good, 7-19 New England. Seattle found their own attacking momentum with another strong carry by Tamaivena that led to Smith diving under the sticks for a try. Cima slotted another, 14-19 New England. Off the restart, Captain and Eight Man Riekert Hattingh drew a penalty for the home team and allowed Cima to kick to touch for a line out. The ball ended up in Flanker Nakai Penny’s hands for an untouched run to the try zone. Cima nudged the ball over the crossbar for two more as Seattle took the lead, 21-19 to end the first half.

SECOND HALF:

Building off first half’s performance, the Seawolves were able to steal a New England line out after a penalty against them, providing fast ball out wide to Outside Center David Busby for a 15-meter carry that pushed the Seawolves up field. Another New England penalty gave Seattle easy meters as Cima kicked to touch to set up a successful line out for the Seawolves. Smith peeled off the back of the maul to bump off a shooting tackler and dive over for his second try of the game and unlocking a coveted Major League Rugby bonus point. Cima remained perfect, 28-19 Seattle. With momentum in Seattle’s hands, the Free Jacks scrambled on defense and a dangerous tackle saw the Free Jacks’ Outside Center head to the sin bin for 10 minutes. Seattle elected to scrum down after the penalty and with a penalty in the scrum this time, the Seawolves chose to kick for points and Cima tacked on another three, 31-19 Seattle. The Free Jacks ended their scoring drought in the second half with a try own their own after their scrumhalf chip kicked up-and-over the Seawolves’ defense and collected the ball himself, running to the try zone. Kick is good, 31-24 Seattle. New England’s ill-discipline continued to open up chances for Seattle to capitalize on points as Cima made his sixth kick of the evening, 34-24 Seattle. Entering the last 20 minutes of the match, New England was pushing hard for the chance to come back in the game as they scored another forwards’ try in the corner after 7 minutes of play. The conversion kick hit the upright and bounced away, 34-29 Seattle. The Free Jacks attempted to exit the ball on the restart but couldn’t find touch, so Fullback Mat Turner chose to carry the ball. Ending up in Free Jacks’ half, another penalty by the east conference club allowed Cima to kick for three more from 45-meters out, 37-29 Seattle at the 71st minute. Back-to-back handling errors from New England gave Seattle a chance to get into their half once more as the clock wound down. The fans in Starfire Stadium witnessed some of the fastest attacking efforts of the night by their home side. A stellar line out kept possession for Seattle and Flanker Vili Toluta’u spun off the back of the maul and hit Penny on a crashing line to barrel over for his second try of the game. Cima slotted his final kick of the evening and stayed perfect, 44-29 Seattle at the 78th minute. The Free Jacks made an effort to get out of their own half but was stalled by a stolen line out and then stolen scrum by Seattle. A kick pass attempt from Cima to Wing Brock Staller was knocked on. Final score, 44-29 Seattle.

NEXT HUNT: MARCH 7, 2020 AT 6:00 PM

The #3 in the West, Seattle Seawolves, will face inner-conference opponent, #2 Utah Warriors, during Celebrate Seattle Sports night at Starfire Stadium next Saturday, March 7. The match will be broadcast on ROOT SPORTS and streamed on ESPN+ domestically while international viewers can tune in to Major League Rugby’s Facebook at 6:00 pm PST.