BLOW THE WHISTLE
“Blow the whistle. The game is over.”
That’s all that ran through Alex Tucci’s mind, who was less than 10 meters from the referee, when the Dallas Jackals forced a Toronto Arrows turnover that ensured a Jackals win.
Tucci started with the team in its inaugural season. He along with a handful of Jackals endured 22 straight winless matches until the final whistle blew on Saturday night at Choctaw Stadium to seal the first win in franchise history. It’s poetic justice combined with sports irony that the first win happened on April 1st, otherwise known as April fools’ Day.
Lots of images can replayed from that night displaying how much the win meant to the organization and its fans.
Head coach Agustin Cavalieri dropped down to his knees – knowing he just made Major League Rugby and franchise history – upon the match’s conclusion in an outburst of emotion. Players hugged on the pitch and jumped up and lifted their arms in relief. Training staff and rugby ops personnel sprinted on the field to share the moment with the players. Fans stayed long after and leaned over the railings to chant “Let’s Go Jackals” and get high-fives from players. Everyone went home happy.
“We feel that this game was very important and for me it was a very important moment. The day before, my two best friends arrived – my wife and my daughter – so it was very nice to have this moment with them,” Cavalieri said.
JP Aguirre, who joined the Pack last April, discussed the match’s conclusion on Wednesday morning.
“It was a big deal for the whole group… You see [Coach] falling to his knees, you see people on the field jumping around, you see people around on the bench getting on their feet jumping, hugging each other. The whole group was really emotional,” Aguirre explained.
“It really speaks on the rugby culture we’ve grown here in Dallas. We’re not just one individual player, we’re a team,” Medina added.
“The fans aren’t just fans. They’re a part of the team. They feel everything we feel.”
Rugby analysts across Major League Rugby and beyond wondered when would the Jackals snap the woeful record long before the 2023 season opener. With juggernauts currently leading the Western Conference, including an undefeated Seattle Seawolves side, it seemed like Toronto, who sits last in the Eastern Conference, was the side for Dallas to defeat.
“I’m proud and thankful to be a part of this team. We got three close calls this year that could have easily gone our way and that really hurt us to not get those wins. It was a little bit demoralizing to get that 0-and-6 start,” Medina reflected.
“[The win] is not only for us, it’s for the fans that support us.”
The Jackals aren’t done yet. Inside the locker room, the boys want more.
“It’s nice to have a bye week, but at the same time it’s like now I’m itching to get that next win. That’s where I’m at and I feel like a lot of the guys have that mindset as well,” Tucci said.
Dallas, TX — The Dallas Jackals of Major League Rugby proudly announce
ARLINGTON, TX – The Dallas Jackals have re-signed Dewald Kotze, hooker, for
ARLINGTON, TX – The Dallas Jackals have re-signed, center, Tomas Cubilla for
ARLINGTON, TX – The Dallas Jackals have signed Lance Fenumiai, front row,
ARLINGTON, TX – The Dallas Jackals have signed Connor Winchester, fly