New England Free Jacks

Free Jacks clinch playoff spot with 13-point comeback vs. Old Glory DC

The defending MLR champs are officially back in the postseason.


The defending Major League Rugby champion New England Free Jacks booked their ticket to MLR playoffs on Saturday by beating Old Glory DC with a 13-point comeback on the road. Despite DC’s strong start and second-half lead, the Free Jacks controlled much of the play in the tightly contested match, winning 31-30. 

In the first two minutes of the match, Old Glory’s Jamason Fa’anana-Schultz put his team on the board first by scoring a try and Jason Robertson made the conversion. 

At the 17 minute-mark, Mitch Wilson had a huge run up on the far side of the field. Working through multiple phases, John-Roy Jenkinson and Jed Melvin pushed the Free Jacks closer to the try line, and Wayne van der Bank completed the effort, dotting it down right between the posts for an automatic seven points to tie the score 7-7.

At the 22 minute-mark, DC made a penalty kick, putting them ahead by three points 10-7. Free Jacks captain Jayson Potroz answered the call with a penalty kick of his own, tying it again at 10-10. 

Just before halftime, DC’s Axel Müller scored a diving try and Robertson made the conversion putting DC in the lead going into halftime 17-10. 

Right after the break, DC was awarded a penalty kick and Robertson converted, adding another three points for Old Glory, 20-10. 

At the 50-minute mark, Paula Balekana scored his fifth try of the season for the Free Jacks and Potroz made the conversion, making the score 20-17. Soon after, Robertson answered with another three points to push Old Glory’s lead to 23-17. At 56 minutes, DC’s Facundo Gattas pushed in a try and Robertson made yet another conversion. 

With little over 20 minutes to play, Old Glory appeared in command of the match at 30-17. Down 13 on the road, the Free Jacks worked relentlessly to get back into the game. The Free Jacks’ hard work paid off at 63 minutes when a Potroz kick resulted in a successful lineout and a maul that positioned Andrew Quattrin to set the ball down over the line for a Free Jacks try. Potroz kicked a successful conversion, making the score 30-24.

The Free Jacks demonstrated their team's chemistry at the 66-minute mark with many players participating in multiple phases deep in Old Glory territory. Quattrin made a quick offload to Potroz, who placed it down between the goalposts for an automatic seven points and a bonus point for a fourth try. The Free Jacks held on to their one-point advantage, 31-30, and earned a true team win.

Andrew Quattrin earned Man of the Match honors on his landmark 75th MLR appearance.

“It was a good team effort, trusting the process, trusting our leaders,” said Quattrin. “They’re a good team, we knew it was going to be physical and we prepared for a big pack. I thought we did well to counter that, especially in the second half.” 

The Free Jacks (9-4-0, 45 pts) will return to Quincy next week to play in front of another packed house after their home win and record crowd last week against the Jackals. They will face off against the Utah Warriors on Father’s Day, June 16, at 3 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1.

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