Free Jacks Find Third Win Of the season

Free Jacks Find Third Win Of the season

Four games into the 2024 Major League Rugby (MLR) season, the New England Free Jacks are again proving they belong atop the MLR’s Eastern Conference. They lived up to their reputation on Sunday, besting the Chicago Hounds 22-17 at SeatGeek Stadium in Chicagoland.

Following a 27-21 victory over a NOLA squad on their home turf last week, the Free Jacks were ready for round four, where the Hounds hosted their first home game. SeatGeek Stadium was sure to evoke positive memories for the Free Jacks as their previous appearance at this venue was during the MLR Championship last July.

“We’ve made a habit of coming out of the blocks slow the past two weeks, a trend we will need to rectify this week. We will need to address our breakdown and general physicality in order to give ourselves the opportunities we are looking for,” said Head Coach Scott Mathie.

Reversing their slow start trend was in evidence as Jayson Potroz scored the first try and conversion of the match to make 7-0 at 17 minutes. Chicago responded with a push down the field that led to a Reece MacDonald yellow card and a penalty try to the Hounds, evening the score at 7-7.

Though the Free Jacks were left with 14 players, that didn’t stop Potroz and Danyon Morgan-Puterangi who teamed up for a try off a midfield lineout at 37 minutes. Going into halftime, the Free Jacks led the Hounds 12-7.

Following the break, a Potroz penalty kick increased the Free Jacks’ lead to 15-7. Chicago reduced the deficit with a penalty kick, tightening the score to 15-10 with 10 minutes to play. Five minutes later, the Free Jacks pushed the lead to 12 points with a Malakai Hala scored a try. A try by Chicago in the last minute narrowed the final margin to 22-17.

Potroz was named of the player of the match for contributing 15 out of the Free Jacks’ 22 points. Fellow Kiwi Hala added the only other points.

Following the win, the Free Jacks hold a 3-1 record, maintaining their position at the top of the Eastern Conference standings with 15 points. NOLA Gold remains close, with a 15-point tally. The Free Jacks lead with a substantial point differential of 43.

Going into a bye week, the Free Jacks next play at home on Saturday, April 6, at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Quincy, MA, against the fifth-place Miami Sharks at 4:30 p.m. ET.

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