New Orleans Gold Defensive Stand Secures Win Over Houston SaberCats

New Orleans Gold & Houston SaberCats

The New Orleans Gold Rugby Club met the Houston SaberCats for the fourth time this year. In the pre-season, the SaberCats won one match and the other was a draw. The first regular season match went to NOLA Gold and the return fixture on Saturday, May 19th had NOLA Gold winning again 24-20 after a goal-line stand.

Match Recap

Houston SaberCats Sam Windsor goes through midfield defense and scores the first try in the 4th minutes. After adding the conversion, the score is 7-0.

During the restart, a Houston player was hit in the air and the SaberCAts went for territory and attacked from a lineout just outside NOLA Gold’s 22 meters. Pangelinan found a gap and offloaded to Stevens, who lost the ball forward 5 meters from the line. Baska was able to clear and dodge a potential score.

NOLA Gold placed the SaberCats under pressure after a New Orleans scrum. Zach Stryffeler then found a gap and offloaded inside to Baska, who executed a grub kick to the SaberCats 5 meters. The ball was cleared and NOLA Gold attacked from a lineout and went wide right, but the ball was held up in-goal. From the ensuing 5 meter scrum, New Orleans used a couple of forwards picks before passing to Stryffeler for a try. Taylor Howden then converted to level the score at 7.

The Houston SaberCats then answered right back, as Sam Windsor slotted a penalty kick to reclaim the lead 10-7.

New Orleans attacked after a Connor Murphy kick. Bobby Johns ran into contact and Howden found a gap and chipped ahead. Zach Pangelinan gathered the ball but did not release the ball, resulting in a penalty try, giving New Orleans a 14-10 lead. A yellow card was issued to Pangelinan.

The SaberCats won a scrum inside their 22-meters, but Howden stripped the ball from Conor Mills and Ratu Rinakama gathered the loose ball and added a try. After Howden’s conversion, the score was 21-10 to NOLA Gold.

On the final play of the half, the SaberCats attacked from a lineout at NOLA Gold’s 10-meter line. Conor Mills found a gap and after a few phases, Connor Murphy added a try under the posts, Windsor converted and the lead was cut to 21-17.

During the first half, the Houston SaberCats had most of the early possession. In spite of some handling errors by New Orleans, they answered back with Taylor Howden factoring into the second and third tries.

In looking at the set pieces during the first half, both teams seem to be even in the scrums and the wind seems to be impacting throws in the lineouts. NOLA Gold made 65 tackles in the first half, while the SaberCats made 47. Both missed 10 tackles.

Second Half

The SaberCats advanced the ball deep into New Orlean’s territory, but a Stevens knock on thwarted the attack. New Orleans attacked from a scrum and advanced the ball into SaberCats territory on a grub kick. Houston was able to attack from a NOLA Gold penalty by advancing the ball within the 22-meters of New Orleans. The SaberCats elected for an attack for a scrum after the refereee marched off another 10 meters after a penalty and some comments to the ref from a New Orleans player.

The SaberCats created a couple of NOLA Gold scrum infractions and New Orleans Buydens was issued a yellow card. Johns went off and Derrek Van Klein came on into the front row. Jake Turnbull then went down and a penalty resulted that enabled NOLA Gold to clear.

The ensuing lineout was lost to the SaberCats, but soon NOLA was able to get the ball back with Howden kicking for territory, resulting in a SaberCats lineout within their 22-meters. The SaberCats cleared and Zach Pangelinan made a high tackle, resulting in a second yellow card, thus turning into a red card. The SaberCats would need to play the rest of the match with 14 men.

With the penalty Taylor Howden slotted the kick, increasing the lead to 24-17. NOLA Gold then claimed the restart and attacked to midfield. A Zach Stryffeler pass was almost picked off by Sam Windsor, who would have had clear sailing for a try, instead the ball was knocked on on the intercept attempt for a NOLA Gold scrum.

Houston began an attack from a lineout after a Howden kick went into touch. Windsor was tackled after a grub kick and with going into the wind, the SaberCats elected to go for points and Windsor slotted the kick cutting the lead to 24-20.

The SaberCats claimed the restart and a box kick by Murphy were mishandled by Houston.  New Orleans couldn’t control the ball after the scrum and resulted in a Houston scrum. Fortunately for NOLA Gold, the SaberCats Osea Kolinisau lost the ball forward.

After a free kick for a SaberCats early engagement, NOLA Gold chose a scrum with the SaberCats using 7 players. A wheel occurred and Turnbull was pinged for not driving square. New Orleans elected to kick for goal and Howden’s almost 50-meter kick with the wind was short. The SaberCats cleared and NOLA Gold attacked from a lineout in the SaberCats territory.

After a NOLA Gold scrum just outside the SaberCats 22-meters, Connor Murphy caused a turnover. Only about 4 minutes remain in the match, so the SaberCats need to retain possession. A NOLA Gold infraction led to a kick into touch and a lineout about 35 meters from the line.

The SaberCats attacked off their 9 channel. Then they executed several picks and drives. NOLA Gold continuously thwarted the attacks before the SaberCAts turned the ball over for a 5-meter scrum. Howden cleared 60 meters, resulting in a SaberCats lineout in the 80th minute. The lineout was taken by NOLA Gold and after a phase, Howden kicked into touch for a 24-20 win. With the win, NOLA Gold Rugby Club record is 2-2, while the Houston SaberCats drops to 1-3. The SaberCats will host the Utah Warriors on May 26, while NOLA Gold travels to play the Seattle Seawolves on May 27. Both teams will need to put together a winning streak to contend for the playoffs. After the match, NOLA Gold’s Matt Hughston was named the Man of the Match.

New Orleans Gold & Houston SaberCats Squads

New Orleans Gold: 1 Hubert Buydens 2 Eric Howard (VC) 3 Ben Tarr 4 Nikola Bursic 5 Matt Wirken 6 Tesimoni Tongauiha 7 Matt Hughston 8 John Sullivan 9 Holden Yungert 10 Ratu Rinakama 11Joeli Tikoisuva 12  Taylor Howden (C) 13 Zack Stryffeler 14 Bobby Johns 15 Michael Baska 16 Amro Gouda 17 Cameron Falcon 18 Derrek Van Klein19 Billy Stewart 20 Brennan Falcon 21 Chad Joseph 22 Tevita Makasini  23 Joey Sok + Head Coach Nate Osborne

Houston SaberCats: 1 Jake Turnbull 2 Lindsey Stevens  3 Paul Mullen 4 Robert Meeson 5 Charlie Hewitt 6 Kyle Sumsion (c) 7 Chris Coyle 8 Matt Trouville 9 Connor Murphy 10 Sam Windsor 11 Alex Elkins 12 Conor Mills 13 Osea Kolinisau14 Malacchi Esdale 15 Zach Pangelinan 16 Diego Maquierira 17 Adam Macklin 18 Jack Riley 19 Justin Allen 20 Chris Parker 21 Cecil Garber 22 Chris Slater 23 Dan Paul + Head Coach Justin Fitzpatrick

New Orleans Gold Pre-Season

New Orleans Gold 2018 Major League Rugby Season

  • April 21 At Houston Sabercats (W 35-26) Preview
  • May 3 At Austin Elite (L30-17) Preview
  • May 12 Home vs. Seattle Seawolves (L 31-29) Preview
  • May 19 Home vs. Houston SaberCats (W 24-20) Preview CBSSN (GAME OF THE WEEK)
  • May 27 At Seattle Seawolves 7 pm CDT Network: Cox/AT&T
  • June 3 Home vs. Glendale Raptors 3 pm CDT Network: Cox/AT&T
  • June 9 Home vs. San Diego Legion 3 pm CDT Network: COX
  • June 16 At Utah Warriors 3 pm CDT Network: CBSSN (GAME OF THE WEEK)

Houston SaberCats Pre-Season Record (12-2-2)

Houston SaberCats 2018 Major League Rugby Schedule

  • April 21 vs New Orleans Gold (L 35-26) Preview
  • April 28 vs Austin Elite (W 50-38) Preview  AT&T
  • May 4 at San Diego Legion (L 35-32) Preview CBSSN (GAME OF THE WEEK)
  • May 19 at New Orleans Gold (L 24-20) Preview CBSSN (GAME OF THE WEEK)
  • May 26 vs. Utah Warriors 5 pm CDT Network: AT&T
  • June 2 vs. Seattle Seawolves 8 pm CDT Network: CBSSN (GAME OF THE WEEK)
  • June 8 at Glendale Raptors 8 pm CDT Network: AT&T
  • June 23 at Utah Warriors 2 pm CDT Network: AT&T
  • June 30 MLR Semi-Finals at Glendale Sat, 6 PM – 11 pm CDT Network: CBSSN
  • July 7 MLR Championship at San Diego 8-10:45 pm CDT Network: CBSSN (Game of the Week)

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