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Liberty: Fairfield, Brown Make Statements

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Liberty: Fairfield, Brown Make Statements

Fairfield vs Iona at Iona. Photo @coolrugbyphotos.

Fairfield pulled off what can fairly be described as an upset, beating Iona 41-20 in Liberty Conference D1 play.

Iona played well early on and led 20-17 despite struggling to get much possession. But their discipline and patience wore thing in the second half.

In the second period Fairfield scored 24 unanswered points led by flyhalf Danny Enright’s kicking and scrumhalf Colin Brady’s rhythm running the attack. The Stags would kick the ball deep and then pressure with their aggressive defense and powerful scrum.

"Fairfield was big and athletic," said Iona Head Coach Paul Burke. "They counter-attacked many times from their own end. While hopeful that our play from late in the first half would continue, it didn't come to pass. We were bogged down again with sloppy play and fielding deep kicks all of the second half."

That counter-attacking came from fullback Chris Giunta, who had been moved from outside center and the move has worked wonders. His kicking from the tee was also crucual.

Fairfield's body blow came on a crossfield kick from Enright to John Minogue that bounced perfect into Minogue's hands, and he scored into the corner.

"Huge, clinical win by a courageous group of young men who play for each other and for their jersey," said Fairfield Head Coach Austin Ryan. "Massive credit to Assistant Coach Steve Cappello for his work with our defense and our scrums. What’s going well is we are willing to do the things that require no talent at 100% and we’ve all bought into the culture of being courageous with the utmost integrity."

Ryan credited the leadership of captains Nick Lapponese and Connor Rinklin and that of Stephen Ryan behind the scenes. With John Thompson leading by example, amd seniors Ben Ehlers, Victor Zurowski, Brady Lewis, Patrick Tunney, John Rehill, and Tyler Toothman are all stepping forward.

Also victorious this weekend in Liberty's D1, Brown shut out Harvard 59-0. Head Coach David LaFlamme credited his sides attention to structure, aggressive defense, and, like Fairfield, a strong scrum.

"It was a good team performance," said LaFlamme, as evidenced by the 59-point shutout.