The Cara Cup concluded this weekend in Harvard’s Mignone Field. Leinster A were the travelling team this week as they took on the New England Free Jacks.
The game ended 55-12 to Leinster A in what was a tough game for the New England Free Jacks. Much like Leinster’s senior side, there is a wealth of young talent and a seemingly conveyer belt of players coming through the system which saw them win the Celtic Cup by beating Welsh side Scarlets A last October.
Leinster A started the game in ominous fashion with a try scored after 2 minutes. This set the tone for Leinster as they ran in 6 unanswered tries in the first half to leave the score at 36-0 going into half time.
The Free Jacks did have their chances in the first half, having twice knocked on within scoring distance of the Leinster try line. The Free Jacks were employing their offload game to relatively good effect to get into a scoring position but getting the final offload to stick eluded the Free Jacks.
The Free Jacks did come out stronger at the start of the second and score the first of their two tries within the opening minute of play resuming. A well directed pass from flanker Owen Hundt set up hooker Steve Hinshaw to score in the corner.
The Free Jacks would score another try in the 77th minute but it was Leinster who stole the show adding a further 3 tries to make the full time score 55-12 to Leinster.
Future of the Cara Cup
The Cara Cup was an interesting and shrewd concept tournament to promote rugby and market the New England Free Jacks ahead of their debut season as a professional outfit in the MLR next year.
In order to be a success the tournament needed to marketed correctly, needed to be organised professionally and most importantly needed to give the fans a taste of what they can expect going into the 2020 season. It did all of this and more.
The atmosphere generated at the Cara Cup finale was carnival like with Patriot style drummers providing the drum beat, a host of local club players provided the roars of encouragement.
With the Free Jacks competing in the MLR next year, the Cara Cup will need to be moved to an alternative date in the calendar in order to continue. Moving the date of the cup could also open the competition to other teams in the MLR, which would be a great way for other MLR players to pit themselves against the best up and coming talent from one of the strongest rugby nations in the world.
The Cara Cup was a great initiative and a great success in promoting the Free Jacks around the Boston area. Let’s hope this is the first of many.