USA vs. New Zealand Match Report

September 14, 2019

Date:    Tuesday, September 17, 2019

USA dusted the final international challenger of 2019, New Zeland, on Saturday, September 14 in the Newport International Polo Series XXVIII, presented by Brahmin.  The home team rode hard to open a four-goal lead that carried through to an 8-5 victory, returning the perpetual cup to American shores in the only rematch against New Zealand since the nation's 2004 debut.

Representing New Zealand in White in the #1 position was George Gould, with Mike Stronach at #2, Henry Wood at #3, and Roddy Wood at #4. Wearing navy blue for USA in the #1 position was Luke Merrick, with Minnie Keating at #2, Dan Keating at #3, and Rory Torrey at #4. Following the introduction of the players and the national anthems of both countries, the traditional New Zealand “Haka” dance was performed. Haka is a ceremonial dance that originated with the Maori people of New Zealand and has become part of New Zealand sporting tradition.

The home team left no room for mistakes entering the 1st chukker. Torrey scored two goals before the 1st chukker finished. D. Keating came out strong to score the first goal of the 2nd chukker. Then, Torrey made a penalty conversion to end the chukker with a 4-0 USA lead. Spurred on by the fast USA advance, H. Wood rallied for New Zealand to score the only goal of the 3rd chukker. The teams left the field for a half-time strategy session with USA leading 4-1.

Torrey continued USA's relentless charge at the start of the second half, widening a 5-1 lead. A penalty against USA gave H. Wood the opening to regain ground, which he neatly made. New Zealand had no time to celebrate though, D. Keating immediately answered with another goal to end the 4th chukker 6-2 for USA.  Merrick began the 5th chukker with another goal for USA, furthering the home team’s lead. Stronach responded with for New Zealand changing the score to 7-3 entering the final chukker. Merrick scored another goal on a penalty at the beginning of the 6th chukker. H. Wood attempted to close in on USA, scoring two impressive goals before the end of the chukker. The resurgence came too late to even the score. USA reclaimed the perpetual cup, 8-5.

The match concluded with the Veuve Clicquot Champagne Toast & Trophy Presentation. Commemorative prizes and the perpetual liberty bowl were awarded by Peter Jenkins and Mary Marwick, hosts of the New Zealand team during their stay in Newport. An autograph signing to meet the players followed the trophy presentation. The teams and fans adjourned to the final Après Polo event of the season, the Asado Lamb Roast to enjoy fork tender lamb that was slow-cooked over an open fire at the field.

During the match, a lucky man from Quincy, MA won two pairs of the latest hi-fi wearables, Bose Frames Audio Sunglasses, and an automatic entry into the Turkish Airlines Grand Prize Drawing at the Finals to win a trip for 2 anywhere in the world!  Also, during the match, the Stella Artois Tailgate Contest awarded a fabulous prize to a spectacularly decorated party of spectators. Specialty vendors and concessionaires present in the Vendor Village at the polo grounds, including the Lauren Hope Fine Jewelry, Seeside Design, Woof Woof!, Nutty Concept, Wag Nation, OPT Eyewear, Newport Jaguar Tours, Newport Polo Pro Shop, the Horseshoe Wine Bar, the Davitt Pavilion Patio Bar and Shuck Truck raw bar, and gourmet food trucks.

While in Newport, the New Zealand team enjoyed many of the best attractions and highlights that the City by the Sea has to experience, including VIP ground transportation from Rockstar Limo, a tour of Newport with the new Newport Jaguar Tours, an aerial tour from Newport Helicopter Tours; a glorious afternoon sail with America's Cup Charters; sightseeing fun courtesy of Scooter World; paddleboarding with Island Surf and Sport; a special tour of Water Fire courtesy of Providence River Boat Company, angling excursions with Newport Sport Fishing Charters, and tennis on the historic grass courts of the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

"Polo is an international sport, played in over 80 countries around the globe," stated Dan Keating, captain of the USA squad. "we are honored to have teams traveling great distances to play in Newport." 

Dating back more than 130 years in Newport, the polo matches are one of Newport’s most popular traditions, a living legacy from the Gilded Age, and open to the public.  Audiences of several thousand spectators enjoy the contests against international teams, as well as teams representing major US cities, playing against the home team every Sat, June thru Sept. at 5 PM / 4 PM in Sept.  

Stay current with the 2019 team lineup, latest news, events and more by subscription to our eMagazine (sign up) and get match details from the Gameday Briefing (sign up).  Both subscriptions are private and spam-free. 

This is the 28th season of Newport International Polo Series, which has hosted teams from over 30 nations including, Ireland, Germany, Spain, England, Argentina, France, Egypt, India, Australia, Costa Rica, Ghana, Canada, Chile, Jamaica, Nigeria, Portugal, New Zealand, Barbados, Scotland, South Africa, Hungary, Dominican Republic, Netherlands, Kenya, Brazil, China, Italy, Mexico, Sweden, Singapore, Monaco, Morocco, Peru and Poland. 

Minutes from downtown Newport, the International Polo Grounds are located at historic Glen Farm, 250 Linden Lane (off Rte. 138) in Portsmouth, RI. This bucolic setting is the last 100 acres of what was once a 700-acre manorial farm whose settlement dates to the 1600s.  Its classical stone barns from the Gilded Age and its park-like grounds were rehabilitated by polo series founder, Dan Keating, and thrive today as an equestrian & community recreational property, and home of the Polo Series.

The Newport International Polo Series is proud to present its 2019 sponsors including BrahminDavitt IncTurkish AirlinesTD BankBoston CommonGurney'sThe VanderbiltHotel VikingThe ChanlerVanderbilt International PropertiesClarke Cooke House,  Stella ArtoisRockstar LimoAtria Senior LivingGoslingsMcGrath Clambakes and promotional partners that entertain our visiting teams including the International Tennis Hall of Fame, America's Cup Charters, Newport Helicopter ToursThe Cocktail GuruNewport MansionsIsland Surf and SportNewport Jaguar Tours, Providence River Boat Company and Scooter World. Special thanks to Schultz Marketing Partners, Van Liew TrustTanglewood, and WCRI, Classical Rhode Island. “Our sponsors have been with us since the beginning. Without their support, the Series would not be as extensive as it is,” explains Dan Keating, Polo Series founder. 

L'esprit de Polo has flourished in Newport, RI, since the founding of America's first polo club in the seaside resort & sporting haven in 1876.  Newport Polo hosts the 28th season of the Newport International Polo Series, and offers polo club member services for grass & arena polo and polo instruction year-round; charter member of the United States Polo Association.

Cover Photo: USA vs. New Zealand 2019, courtesy of Scott Trauth Photography; View the Album