Going into the 2022 season, the Iona Men’s Rugby team was ranked 15th in the nation while Fairfield was not even in the top 50 rankings, according to Goff Rugby Report. The odds for any matchup seemed to be in favor of Iona, but Fairfield had other plans. 

On September 17, Fairfield took on Iona at their home field in New Rochelle, NY. The Stags were down in the first half, 20-17, but came back strong at the beginning of the second half. Their defense was solid and ensured that Iona would only score three points the entire second half. 

Iona Head Coach Paul Burke broke down what happened in the upset.

“They counter-attacked many times from their own end,” he said. 

Counter attacking occurs when a team regains possession of the ball from a kick, dropped ball, a turnover, or a pass being intercepted. The outstanding counterattacks came from fullback Chris Giunta, who had been moved from outside center.  

“We were bogged down again with sloppy play and fielding deep kicks all of the second half,” said Burke. Iona simply could not keep up with the athleticism Fairfield brought to the field on Saturday. 

Speaking on the win, Fairfield’s Head Coach Austin Ryan said, “Huge, clinical win by a courageous group of young men who play for each other and for their jersey.” 

He was highly congratulatory of his team and their accomplishment this week. 

Ryan also shared the wealth with his assistant coach. 

“Massive credit to Assistant Coach Steve Cappello for his work with our defense and our scrums,” he said. Defense played a huge role in their win, as was highly noted by Iona’s Burke. 

The Stags wrapped up their game with a 41-20 win over Iona, sending their rank from nowhere near the top 50 to number 18. It is safe to say that the men are having an unbelievable season so far and have so much more to accomplish. 

You can catch their next home game on October 8th against Brown on Grauert Field as they fight to keep their undefeated title.

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