New Orleans Gold & Capital Selects
The New Orleans Gold Rugby Club faced the Capital Rugby Union Selects in their first pre-season match before the Major league Rugby season begins away on April 21 against the Houston SaberCats.
NOLA Gold defeated the Capital Rugby Union Selects 68-15 in their first pre-season match on Saturday, January 20 at Gretna City Park, Gretna, LA. The match was live-streamed by Gift-time Rugby Network Facebook page. Admission was free. Match updates were on @USMLR Snapchat.
The New Orleans Gold Rugby Club opened their training camp on January 3rd and have had only a couple of weeks to prepare for the Captial Selects. Post-match assessment will include making decisions about the final NOLA Gold roster spots for the inaugural Major League Rugby season in April.
The Capital Rugby Union Selects have been establishing an impressive representative schedule the last two years. They have already played the USA Rugby South in November and will play the Houston SaberCats on Feb. 3rd at 7 pm CST away at Constellation Field.
The first half had Nola Gold dominating play in the set pieces and their excellent coverage defense and the ability to find gaps on offense led to five tries and conversions to lead 35-0 before the Capital Rugby Union Selects was able to add a try prior to the break to narrow the score to 35-5.
John Sullivan scored the first try for New Orleans Gold. Sebastian Kalm scored their second though on a pick after a 5 meter scrum. JP Eloff would be perfect during the half in converting each of the five tries.
John Sullivan scored off another pick by the forwards. Taylor Howden added a 4th try from a chip and take for a try under the posts. Kalm closed out the NOLA Gold scoring during the first half with his second try from a pick after another 5 meter scrum.
Just prior to halftime, the Capital Rugby Union Selects had No. 8 Josh Brown advance the ball from a Selects scrum. Fullback Nick Kuhl skip pass went into CJ Burnes’ hands and led to a try in the corner. The conversion attempt by Jake Humphrey was short.
NOLA Gold began their training camp 17 days ago. Their are driving forward in the scrums, have stolen a couple of lineouts and their pressure defense has been superb. They do need to handle the ball better and minimize the penalties that they have had so far in the match. It is early in their training, but their fitness around the pitch will also improve in the weeks ahead.
The Capital Selects have had a few moments when they have been able to attack wide and a few breaks that were then contained by the defense.
Capital Selects gained the early seond half momentum with Matt Holsopple breaking deep into NOLA Gold territory. They were not able to penetrate the try line and a Selects lineout went long and the loose ball was picked up by Eric Howard. Ratu Rinakama took the ball and after a break chipped the ball into touch. NOLA stole the lineout again and a Vince Jobo run created quick hands left for a JP Eloff try in the left corner. He was unable to convert from touch, but NOLA increased their lead to 40-5.
The Capital Selects announced right back as Jake Humphreys drove in for a try to narrow the score to 40-10, as Campbell Johnstone’s conversion went left of the posts. Taylor Howden was also sent to the bin on this exchange.
In the ensuing restart, NOLA knocked the ball on for a Selects scrum. Blake Carroll found a gap and evaded several tacklers. A few exchanges later, a penalty by the Selects allowed NOLA Gold to clear the ball to midfield. Another penalty had NOLA within the Selects 22 meters. From a lineout turned into a maul, Vince Jobo scored and Eloff converted for a 47-10 lead.
By this time, numberous substitutions had been made by NOLA Gold, but Joey Sok added two tries in two touches for a 61-10 lead, as Eloff was perfect on both conversions. Eric Howard added a team 10th try with Eloff going 9 for 10 in conversions on the day as NOLA Gold increased their lead to 68-10.
The Capital Selects would score one final time in the match after NOLA Gold prop Derrick Van Klein was sent to the bin. The Selects quickly moved the ball wide for a Brian Molloy try, but the drop kick conversion by Nick Kuhl was missed.
New Orleans Gold had a dominant performance on the day for a 68-15 win over the Capital Rugby Union Selects.
During the second half, the dominance that NOLA Gold had in the scrums disipated, but their lineout prowess continued. The Capital Selects had a better second half attack against NOLA Gold, but with the match well in hand, NOLA could give their reserves that opportunity to perform well, as the last roster spots were on the line.
NOLA Gold will need to work on their discipline, having had too many penalties and also two players going to the bin. The Captial Selects will need to regroup, as they travel to Houston in two weeks to meet the SaberCats in another Major League Rugby pre-season match.
The Gift-time Rugby Network Man-of-the Match went to Capital Selects Jake Humphrey and to NOLA Gold’s Sebastian Kalm.
NOLA Gold: 1 Ben Tarr 2 Eric Howard 3 Cam Falcon 4 Nikola Bursic 5 John Sullivan 6 Vince Jobo 7 Matt Hughston 8 Sebastian Kalm 9 Holden Yungert 10 Taylor Howden (C) 11 Jojo Tikoisuva 12 Zach Stryffeler 13 Tesimoni Tongauiha 14 Ratu Peceli Rinakama 15 JP Eloff 16 Derek Van Klein 17 Matt Wirken 18 Joey Sok 19 William Waguespack 20 Myles McQuone 21 Michael Baska 22 Bobby Johns 23 Melvin Desouza
Capital Selects: 1 Jim Irey (Norfolk) 2 Adam Floyd (James River) 3 Evan Harkum (Baltimore-Chesapeake) 4 Tyler Barberi (Baltimore-Chesapeake) 5 Matt Holsopple (Norfolk) 6 Vili Siale (Pittsburgh) 7 Alex Diegel (Beltway Elite) 8 Josh Brown (Rocky Gorge) 9 Sean Hartig (Rocky Gorge) 10 Jake Humphrey (Norfolk) 11 CJ Burnes (NOVA) 12 Campbell Johnstone (Beltway Elite) 13 Brian Mulloy (NOVA) 14 Blake Carroll (Baltimore-Chesapeake) 15 Nick Kuhl (Rocky Gorge) 16 Eric Sweeney (Baltimore-Chesapeake) 17 Guy Lopresti (PAC Exiles) 18 Zack Jessell (Pittsburgh) 19 Mike Fletcher (Washington Irish) 20 Kevin Jackson (Rocky Gorge) 21 Zach Schell (Pittsburgh) 22 Calvin Storey (Raleigh) 23 Ted Sheedy (Pittsburgh)
Capital Selects Staff: Head Coach Chuck Moore (Rocky Gorge), Assistant Coaches Jeremy Frayne (Norfork) & Jon Grasso (Beltway Elite), Manager Roland Pratt (Beltway Elite), HP Director Steven Davis (Washington RFC)