The New York Athletic Club Rugby Team

Rugby

NYAC Rugby Team Wins US Title

Winged Foot team defeats Austin Blacks in a game for the ages
June 15th- Infinity Park, Glendale, CO

In a see-saw battle that had NYAC down with only 2 minutes left, a national championship was on the line in a highly contested match that surprisingly was almost never played.

Severe thunderstorms at Infinity Park in Glendale had engulfed the area an hour prior to kickoff. Officials had barred the use of the field until the storms cleared. The Womens national match had not yet been completed and the Men’s final was looking at a 9pm kick-off or faced with having to play the match either Sunday morning at 6am, at a later date, or not at all. After some tough negotiations with USA Rugby and the Austin Blacks, NYAC asked the Austin Blacks to step outside the comforts of Infinity Stadium and to settle the championship on an adjacent field, away from the crowds, knowing the game will no longer be streamed live, but at least had artificial turf which processes the rain more efficiently and coincidently is much like the surface they are used to playing on at Travers Island.

 The bold move initially proved disastrous as with a shortened warm-up period, the Austin Blacks were the quicker team out of the blocks. The NYAC had to play into strong winds and driving rains during the first half and were put under pressure right from the kick-off. Three quick tries by Austin left the NYAC down 21-3, under constant pressure, and showing no signs of launching any offense.

“My kingdom for a dry ball!” screamed Patrick Fiffe as the NYAC lineouts were compromised by the severe conditions. The NYAC scrums held their own against a larger Austin pack which left the NYAC to execute open play flawlessly in order to gain ground.

After 20 minutes the hitting had intensified, the NYAC stormed back with lightening quick scoring attacks from Tobias Henry, Quentin Pradere, James Denise and Kyle Granby.  The NYAC was now up 27-24 but momentum was clearly on our side and the Austin Blacks were starting to tire and looked confused on how to counter the speedy NYAC offense.

In the waning minutes of the first half, the NYAC was again pressuring Austin and near their try line, then a clearing kick got caught up in the swirling winds and took a horrendous bounce that landed in the hands of a charging Austin player who found pay dirt and closed out the first half with a 29-27 Austin lead.

The Colorado weather remained true to form as we experienced four seasons of weather within our 3 hour stay. The second half began with the NYAC now having the wind at their back…. for all of two minutes. The wind had turned and Austin once again started the half as the stronger side. Mental errors led to the first try of the second half and moments later an Austin kick to the corner lead to a line-out and Austin pushing the ball over the try line seemingly effortlessly. With 20 minutes left, the Austin lead bloomed to 39-27 and NYAC’s chance of winning a fifth National title were starting to fade.

Faced with a cataclysmic decision of riding out his starters or going to the reserves, Head Coach Phil Bailey opted for the fresh legs and went to his very deep and talented bench of Jewett, Brakeley, Soderman and Hall, who all made a huge impact on both sides of the ball and deserve much credit for the renewed pressure put on Austin.

With nothing but the other team standing between him and the try line, Big Man Al McFarland ran the ball in from 20 meters out and started the NYAC scoring in the second half. Moments later, #8 Harrison Edwards was also able to score and the NYAC had now crawled back from the dead and retook the lead at 41-39.

Having just made two crucial conversions to get the NYAC back on top, the team once again called on Justin Hundley to make a penalty kick and pad the NYAC lead. It was good, and left the score at 44-39 to the NYAC, with two minutes left on the clock. Austin was now faced with the daunting task of crossing the try line within two minutes or going home with the loss.

With just 120 seconds standing between the NYAC and the national title, the emotional anxieties were sky high. From the resulting kick-off, the NYAC somehow gave away a stupid penalty and Austin kicked to the corner and regained the ball five meters out from the NYAC try line.  Looking to drive over the goal line and retake the lead, the wet and wild fans were at fever pitch. If Austin could execute the same play they did 15 minutes earlier, all was lost for NYAC.

But after a thunderous hit from #6 Al McFarland, and a heroic goal line defense from the forwards, a frantic battle for the ball led to McFarland stripping the pill from an opponent and then passing to Mike Petri who cleared the ball out of bounds as time expired.

Final Score NYAC 44 Austin Blacks 39

Side Notes-

Michael Petri was awarded the MVP of the match. Petri’s play was brilliant and he demonstrated the form that makes him a USA National team member. Look for Mike in the upcoming Rugby World Cup in September to be held in England.

This is the 5th National Title in 11 years for NYAC Rugby.

First year Head Coach Phil Bailey was unanimously voted Coach of the Year.

Assistant Coach and Strength & Conditioning Coach Neil McMillan deserves much credit for the NYAC’s superior fitness and stamina throughout the year. All members can access Neil’s talents at City Athletes, a not-for-profit group that is dedicated to the fitness training for individuals or groups in the inner city. Neil can be reached at neil@city-athlete.com.

On behalf of the players, coaching staff and administration, we would like to thank the NYAC and all its members for their ongoing support for which this all would not be possible. Special thanks to Tommy Lynch, Robert Rodriguez and Cedric Jones whose leadership of NYAC athletics creates a sporting environment that is second to none.

Ted Vaccaro

NYAC Rugby Chairman

_______________________

The New York Athletic Club Rugby team competes in the American Rugby Premiership which is the highest level of rugby competition in the USA.

We also carry a B-side and, sometimes, a C-side who compete against the B and C-sides of opposing teams or Division I teams.

The NYAC Rugby club was established in 1973. We won the Rugby Super League National Championship in 2005, 2008, 2010 and 2012. We have fielded and supported numerous members of the US Eagles throughout the years.

Our regular season starts in September of each year and runs through November. We reconvene in March and the playoffs take place in late May and the finals are held by Memorial Day. We play 7s during the summer and have made numerous appearances in the National Tournament. We train three times per week during the pre-season and two times per week during the regular season. Training sessions are normally held at Randall’s Island on Monday and Thursday evenings from 7pm to 9pm. We also hold indoor preseason training in the New York Athletic Club at Central Park South and 7th Avenue.

We are an amateur club and abide by all of the rules of the New York Athletic Club. All are encouraged to try out for the team. Practice times and schedules will be updated regularly on this site.


  • Team Schedule
    • Date

      Location

      Opponent

      Kick off

      February 26th          

      Penn State    

      Penn State

      1pm

      March 5th


      Rocky Gorge

      1pm


      March 19th


      Boston
      1pm

      April 2nd

      Travers Island

      Boston Irish

      1pm

      April 9th


      Old Blue New York    

      7pm


      April 16th

      Travers Island     

      Life

      1pm


      April 23rd

      Travers Island

      Iona

      1pm


      April 30th

      Travers Island

      Mystic

      1pm


      May 7th

      Travers Island

      Rocky Gorge

      1pm

       
      May 14th


      Playoffs

         
      May 28th

        Finals

         
      June 4th

      Travers Island

      London Irish

      2:30pm

       
      August 20th

      Travers Island

      Capital Allstars

      12pm
       
      August 27th

      Travers Island

      Fairfield Yankees

      12pm
       
  • Practice Information
    • Rugby practice is being held at Randalls Island, field 10, from 7pm to 9pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

      Directions to Practice Field
      Take the 4,5,6 train to 125 st. On North west corner, get M35 bus. Once on Randalls, get off near golf course, its usually the 2nd stop on Randalls, we are on the big turf field under the lights.


  • Program Highlights
    • HISTORY OF NYAC RUGBY

      It doesn't seem possible that twenty years have gone by since Bill Smith, Jack Delany and I were sitting in a bar discussing the possibility of forming a rugby club within the New York Athletic Club, but it was January of 1973. The Club had been approached by another group some fourteen years earlier but the time just was not ripe, and the club turned them down. This time though, the game had enjoyed a terrific growth, particularly around New York City, and Jack Delaney was very enthusiastic about supporting us and using his influence to gain support from the Board of Governors. They quickly assigned us a budget of $1000, which was mind boggling at the time to Billy and me. We had spent nearly 20 years playing with rugby clubs who existed through the Christmas raffle.

      Once given permission to form the club we had to take inventory of the players we had available and make some decisions as to whom, when, and where we were going to play. There were in fact a number of very good players who were members of the New York Athletic Club but unfortunately, they were all committed to playing with other clubs and we were moderately successful at recruiting them in the first season. We then made the decision to get the program off the ground by forming a Sunday side. After a hurried call for the recruits we held our first practice on a Sunday afternoon in February of 1973 in the gym. We had something like seven or eight new recruits, people who were athletic and eager to try something new, but who had never played rugby before. Together with them and members of the A.C. who were playing with other clubs we filled 15 spots for our first side. In that first Spring season, many if us played each Saturday with our regular clubs and every Sunday with the NYAC team, to be known as Winged Foot.

      Before the first game, George Mayer and I were assigned the task of going up to Travers Island and to survey the playing conditions. We found a 200 year old tree in the in-goal area, a baseball diamond on one end, and four shot putting rings, which were actually steel rings filled with seven inches of reinforced concrete, on our new playing field. Naturally, they strategically placed right at the half-way and inside the touch lines. We had to use great imagination to lay out the pitch in the form of a parallelogram so that the tree, which was at least 6 feet in diameter, would fall in the in goal area, rather than on the playing area.

      We organized a party to go up there the following Saturday armed with sledge hammers and crow bars to break up the shot putting rings. This was hell of a lot easier said than done and we had only partly completed the job when our first scheduled home match came up. It was held on a Sunday in April 1973 against the Old Blue Thirds and luck would have it there was a heavy down pour all day long. In the morning, I had gone to the nursery and purchased 60 to 70 square feet of sod. The owner was somewhat incredulous when he was standing in the pouring rain loading it into the station wagon and he asked "what on earth are you doing to do with sod on a day like this?" I said, "I'm just going to fix my rugby pitch". He simply stood there scratching his head as we went off to Travers Island and immediately set about covering the concrete with a carpet of sod, figuring that the Old Blue would be the none wiser. Sure enough, early in the game I tackled someone who landed on top of the soil who cursed" damn, this pitch feels like concrete".

      Eventually we completed the job, had the baseball infield sodded in and continued to play on our parallelogram field for the next five years, much to the dismay of the referees, who could never sort out a forward pass.

      We became a regular side in the fall of 1973 and about two years later when the Metropolitan Rugby Union was formed we were assigned to the third division. We won the third division that year and moved up to second division the following season. We won that also, and competed in the first division until 2001. During that time we had two Sweet Sixteen National Tournament appearances and in 2001,after losing in the finals of the Division 1 National Championship, we were asked to join the Rugby Super League and have been there ever since.

      Winged Foot has grown from those early days of scratching for 15 men, to a point where we are now the most successful member of the elite USA Rugby Super League. We field two sides every weekend and an Old Boys side several times each season. The addition of Mike Tolkin and his Xavier High Alumni, along with some key player acquisitions, and as a result of consolidation in the Met Union has emerged an even stronger Winged Foot Rugby Club. The Winged Foot now regularly plays matches all over the US. We have won Rugby Super League National Championships in 2005, 2008 and 2010 and hold the most national titles of any current member of the Rugby Super League.

      For anyone who lives and works in the New York area, there is no finer place to play rugby than with the Winged Foot. The financial support, the marvelous athletic facilities of the Parent Club, and perhaps most important, the caliber of the individuals who belong to it are second to none.  - Robert Cullum Sr.-1993


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  • Latest News and Results
    • NRU Sevens Championship Series - 7/16/2016

       

      In what turned out to be a bittersweet victory at the 2016 Northeast Sevens Championship Series, the NYAC 7s team finished their season by repeating as tournament champions in Saratoga, NY this past weekend.

       

      Going into the match, the team knew they were long-shots to make the National Championship tournament in August. Everything had to fall into place in order for them to make it; team NYAC would have to win the tournament, and hope that Mystic River finished in fourth place.

       

      The team got off to a great start beating Old Blue B 47-0. Next, they defeated Mystic B 34-7, and capped off a perfect record in pool play with a 19-12 victory over Old Blue. Team NYAC advanced to the semi-finals to play the Village Lions, while Mystic River and Old Blue were to square off in the other semi-final match. The team had no problem with the Village Lions, advancing to the final by a score of 36-5. Moreover, Old Blue won the other semi-final, meaning Mystic River and the Village Lions would play in the third-place match.

       

      With Mystic River playing for third place, team NYAC still had a chance to make the National Championship tournament; but, they needed the Village Lions to win. Unfortunately, Mystic River cruised to an easy victory, ending the NYAC’s championship hopes.

       

      Going into the final, the team had nothing to play for but pride. The match flew by as NYAC played phenomenal defense and moved the ball with ease on attack, controlling the pace of the game and frustrating Old Blue. In the end, NYAC repeated as Saratoga champions by a score of 17-5. The 22 points from the tournament win put NYAC level with Mystic River in the standings. However, Mystic River’s 2-1 record against NYAC meant they would finish in third place, ahead of team NYAC.

       

      Newport 7s Final Results:

      10:20 vs Old Blue B - W 47-0

      12:20 vs Mystic River B - W 34-7

      13:40 vs Old Blue A - W 19-12

      Semi-Final: Village Lions - W 36-5

      Final: Old Blue A - W 17-5

       

      As yet another summer of sevens comes to a close, the team would like to thank everyone who supported them through the summer. Thank you to everyone at the New York Athletic Club for giving us the opportunity to play every weekend.



        

      NYAC vs. Life - 04/16/16

      NYAC lost a very tight game to a strong Life team, 28 points to 19.

      On a glorious sunny afternoon afternoon at Travers Island, round four of the Spring ARP games kicked-off with NYAC recovering from the loss to Old Blue last week.

      The NYAC started strongly and got possession of the ball all the way to the Life try line, only to be turned over.

      Life showed their quick thinking and skill to shift it wide to the wings, accelerate past the trailing NYAC defense and score in the corner.  The try was converted and left it 7-0 with only three minutes on the clock.

      That woke the NYAC up, and they returned with and extremely well worked team try, finished off by center Seamus Kelly.

      Life struck again five minutes later and converted to retake the lead, only to be caught up just as quickly, with a driven maul by the NYAC pack, pushed over and finished by Pat Coleman. The NYAC dominated possession and territory, but couldn’t get the finishing touch to a multiple of phases, Life always clinging on and keeping them out. The half finished level, at fourteen all. And was probably a fair reflection of how the game went.

      The second half started with the NYAC continuing the pressure and through a number of rumbling forward carries, the line was broken by hooker Nick Discala.

      Life suddenly found a new gear, and through some serious dominance in the scrum, exploited a number of penalties, made it to NYACs try line, and their scrum dived over at close range. This left the NYAC down two points, with 12 minutes on the clock.

      Through continued pressure and phases, the NYAC couldn’t find a rhythm, and lost the game when Life’s open side flanker dealt a crushing blow with a final try, to leave the score NYAC 19 – Life 28.

      A disappointing finish to an up and down ARP pool this season for the NYAC, but still some big games on the cards, with Mystic and Rocky Gorge coming up soon.

      Final Score:
      NYAC 19 Life 28
      NYAC scorers

      Try:
      Seamus Kelly 15min
      Pat Coleman 35min
      Nick Discala 45min
      Conversions:
      Simon uphill x2


      NYAC vs Boston Irish Wolfhounds - 04/02/2016

      In the second round of the ARP, the NYAC notched a convincing win against visitors Boston Irish Wolfhounds. The rain subsided just in time for kick-off at Travers Island, to give pleasant conditions for this weeks match-up. The Wolfhounds kicked off into a light breeze and the NYAC started well, by moving the ball about and running through phases early on, but were met with a strong line of Irish defense every time, especially out wide.
      It took 10 minutes of play, before team NYAC opened the scoring, with a close range try from scrum half Tobias Henry, and well struck conversion from Simon Uphill. NYAC made good inroads at scrum time, through front row of Brandon Wynne, Nick Discala and Kirk Hamilton. Time and time again, NYAC would play through phases, and the Wolfhounds line would scramble superbly to halt progress or force a pass, and keep NYAC at bay. Then finally after 20 minutes, Seamus Kelly, who ran strongly all afternoon, scored the NYAC's second try.
      The NYAC also finished the half with a try scored from a driving maul at line-out time through number eight Mike Webb. The halftime score was 19-0 in NYAC’s favor. The second half started with the NYAC pack ramping up the pressure and turning into points. Two close range tries from strong rolling mauls after line-outs from hooker Nick Discala and new back rower Ryan Clarke. Team NYAC continued their dominance through scores from AL McFarland and Ryan Clarke adding his second.
      With thirteen minutes left on the clock, Boston Irish finally broke the NYAC defensive line, and with two quick passes and four missed tackles, they touched down in the corner. NYAC rang all the changes and emptied their bench, they gave a final flurry of scores, through longtime servant of the club Ryan McTiernan, and flyer Kyle Granby, to leave the final score at 53-5.


      NYAC vs Boston - 03/19/2016

      Team NYAC kicked-off their spring 2016 ARP campaign with a 45-14 win against Boston.
      The match took place at Milton High School in fresh spring conditions with a light breeze favoring the NYAC in the first half. The NYAC was the first on the score sheet with a well worked team try, dotted down in the corner by Greg Voigt. The touchline conversion was masterfully slotted by the NYAC's latest recruit at 10, Simon Uphill, who ended the day with a kicking record of five from seven. The first half set piece was dominated by the NYAC with Nate Brakeley controlling the line-outs, with three stolen away from Boston’s grasp. While the whole pack got stuck in at scrum time and proved to be the more powerful for the first 40 minutes.
      Strong ball carrying from Al McFarland, Seamus Kelly and standout back row and captain James Denise resulted in a total of six first half tries. Including a first half hat trick from Seamus Kelly. Half time came with a score of 38-0 in favor of the NYAC.
      The second half kicked-off, and again the quicker out of the blocks, the NYAC was quick to charge down field and three phases later, scrum half Tobias Henry touched down under the posts. NYAC rung the changes, and the tide very quickly turned. Boston upped the intensity, and through some poor defending and ill discipline at the breakdown, Boston managed to cross the whitewash twice in quick succession. Leaving the score at 45-14.
      After repeated infringements, new NYAC recruit John Kinnell, was only on the pitch for two minutes, before receiving a yellow card. He left the game on 70 minutes and would play no further part.
      The game finished with no further scores, but Boston was definitely the stronger of the two sides in the second half. Team NYAC was pleased with the bonus point win and very encouraged by the first half performance, but they will need more than a forty-minute performance against the likes of Old Blue and Life. The next match up for NYAC will be at home against Boston Irish in two week’s time.


      ​​​
      NYAC vs Boston RFC- 10/4/2014

      It was driving wind and horizontal rain as NYAC's final fall season game kicked off In the otherwise beautiful Harvard University Campus, the weather was the only negative part of what was tipped to be a big clash between Boston and NYAC. Boston kicked off with the wind at their backs and were quickest out of the gate, and on the scoreboard, with a penalty kick after just 5 minutes. Boston enjoyed a large chunk of territory and possession in the first half, and definitely used the wind to their advantage to keep the pressure on NYAC. The NYAC defense held up extremely well, and with regular starters like Eagles Troy Hall, Brian Doyle, and 7s player Justin Hundley away with the ARC squad, it was time for the rest of the squad to step up and show what they could do. The Back row of Al McFarland, Steven Sanchez and Chris Soderman got through a ton of tackles kept Boston without a try when the half time whistle blew. The score remained 3-0 at the half, but Boston doubled the lead to 6-0 after a well struck penalty, following an offside in midfield. This sparked a big effort and change in gear from NYAC, and after some well worked patterns and phases of play, with new recruit Tobias Henry pulling the strings at 10, Boston were stretched in defense.

      While playing advantage following a ruck infringement, Mike Petri slotted a drop goal, to claw back into the game at 6-3 in Bostons favor. Then as Boston tired, NYAC found another big push and hammered out 3 tries in the remaining 15 minutes. After some superb lineout drives and quick forward rucks, new tight head prop Chris Baumann crashed over. Closely followed minutes later by a Mike Petri try after a clean linebreak form Tobias Henry. This was converted by Chris Chapmann and left the score now 15-6 with NYAC in the lead.

      In the final minutes, there was a clever kick down the line which was chased in by NYAC flyer Kyle Granby who touched down in the corner to finish the game at NYAC 20- Boston 6. NYAC's Fall season ends with a 3 and 1 record, with the spring season to come! Full credit to both sides in putting on a great display in rough conditions.


      NYAC vs Boston Irish Wolfhounds - 9/13/2014

      Venue: Irish Cultural Centre, Canton, Mass
      Kick off 1pm
      Score: NYAC 58- BIW 21
      ​NYAC rugby got their 2014 season campaign off to a winning start on the road against the Boston Irish Wolfhounds.

      Playing their first game in the newly, constructed American Rugby Premiership, NYAC traveled to the Irish Cultural Centre in Canton Mass.

      With their family day in full swing, there was a decent sized crowd out to watch a high scoring match up between these two teams.

      Boston struck first on the scoreboard through ex NYAC scrum half Mike Durant, which caught NYAC off guard and definitely lit a fire under them. NYAC led by captain Mike Petri, replied with first half tries from hooker Patrick Fiffe, debutant prop Chris Baumann and Troy Hall.

      It was a pretty one sided affair most of the first half with NYAC putting together some clinical patterns and taking their chances. The wolfhounds were an extremely physical outfit, however ill discipline cost them to have 2 players sent to the sin bin, resulting in NYAC taking full advantage.

      NYACs set piece scrums and lineouts functioned well all afternoon and gave a solid platform for Justin Hundley to launch some superb attacks through a new look back line. As the second half started, the Wolfhounds made significant territory and moved swiftly into the NYAC half, only to be thwarted by Justin Hundley who snapped up an intercept and ran 75 meters to score.

      More pressure was added through Troy Hall, who scored 3 second half tries, brining his personal tally to 4 for the day. Further tries came from NYACs wingers Kyle Granby and debutant Dom de Falco.

      The Wolfhounds gave a late surge and managed to score and try and were awarded a penalty try after persistent infringement at the breakdown from NYAC.

      But resilient goal line defense from the NYAC squad stopped the Wolfhounds from gaining a valuable 4 try bonus point and finished the game deserved winners at 58-21.


      The Wolfhounds were gracious hosts and we look forward to having them down at Travers Island for the return fixture in the spring.
  • Contacts
  • Club Rules
    • Club Rules

      All players must adhere to the following NYAC rules:

      1) All players must have status, of either full member, athletic member, or privilege card status. No player is to represent NYAC without status. Any deviation from this can result in the suspension of the sport.

      2) PC cards are good for one year, upon expiration; the athletes are expected to become athletic members. All conditions of a Privilege Card must be adhered to.

      3) All requests for field or facility use must be approved by the Athletic Department and Travers Island management.

      4) All receipts must be compiled and forwarded to the Chairman. No one is to receive any funding whatsoever from the Club if they are not a member or PC registered. All funding must be cleared through club appropriation and approved by the chairman.

      5) All sports must have an acceptable ratio of full and athletic members to privilege card holders. All sports will be judged by the amount of their athletic members becoming full members.

      6) Significant attendance by team members is expected at the All Sports Dinners, Athlete's Reception, and other special events. All athletes are expected to show support for other team's events whenever possible.