Dan Leitao/The Mirror

The hard-fought win by the Fairfield men’s rugby team on Sunday could be summarized in two words: “Well deserved.”

Those are the words head coach Matt Barnett used to describe how his team fought back and scrapped to earn its 27-24 victory over conference leader William Paterson at home.

Fairfield, playing behind the support of the alumni and family members who visited over the weekend, fell behind early as they allowed William Paterson to convert a try early in the match, and appeared to be getting outplayed by a William Paterson team who was coming off five straight wins of their own.

The Red Ruggers broke through late in the first half, as they converted a try on their last play, and went into halftime with a little momentum, trailing by a score of 12-8.

The second half was a back and forth affair, as both teams scored try-for-try, with neither team gaining a significant lead for any amount of time.

Fairfield continued their good play throughout the second half, and capitalized on some Pioneers’ mistakes, including a yellow card and sloppy play, which lead to a try in the corner for Fairfield.

The game was in doubt until the very end when Fairfield had a monumental goal line stand to hold off the relentless William Peterson attack, cementing the 27-24 upset for the home team.

 

Head coach Matt Barnett was very appreciative of the effort his players gave during the game. “We fought hard and it feels good to win a game like this, in this manner,” he said.

Coach Barnett attributed a lot of the team’s success this week to the leadership of the captains.

“They [the captains] deserve a lot of credit. They had the guys out here [practicing] a few times during the week when I couldn’t be here, so a lot of it is thanks to the hard work put in during the week.”

Senior captain Gareth McLoughlin spoke about the match and how it will motivate the team as the playoffs approach.

“WPU definitely brought out the best in us. They were a tough team that resorted to some dirty play, but we were able to keep our heads and come out as the victors,” McLoughlin added. “It gave us the confidence we need to go into the playoffs next week and play our best rugby all season.”

The win for Fairfield puts them at 3-1 at home this season, and in third place for the division with opponent William Peterson dropping from first to fourth.

The win also allows Fairfield the opportunity to avenge an earlier season loss to Marist, who defeated the Red Ruggers 8-5 on September 25 at Fairfield’s Lt. Hans Grauert Field.

Fairfield will be heading into this weekend’s playoff match against Vassar with supreme confidence and should be determined as ever to continue their success this season.

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