Seattle Seawolves & New Orleans Gold
The Seattle Seawolves moved into first place in the Major League Rugby standing after defeating New Orleans Gold Rugby Club 55-26 on May 27 at Starfire Stadium. The Seawolves have a 4-1 record and along with the 4-0 Glendale Raptors are likely to make the playoffs as the first two seeds. The June 16 match between these two teams will likely determine the seeding.
With the loss, the New Orleans Gold Rugby Club falls to fifth place in the standings with a 2-3 record. Ausint Elite Rugby is in fourth place with 12 points, with a better point differential than NOLA Gold. The race for the final two playoff spots is a tight one as San Deigo Legion has 11 points and the Houston SaberCats have 9, each with three games remaining.
The first of the June 1-3 matches have Austin Elite Rugby facing the Utah Warriors in a match between the third and fourth teams in the standings. The winner will have the edge in gaining a potential third seed.
The Seattle Seawolves will travel to face the Houston SaberCats in the CBS Sports Network Game of the Week on June 2. NOLA Gold host the Glendale Raptors on June 3. The San Diego Legion, who are in sixth place, have a bye.
A loss by the SaberCats will likely mean not qualifying for the playoffs. San Diego will face an uphill battle to qualify for the playoffs as seven members of the team are part of the Eagles squad.
The Houston SaberCats have what appears to be the most difficult schedule of the seven teams, Facing the top three teams in the standings in the final three matches. They lose Paul Mullen to Eagles duty, but have a strong group of front row players.
Utah has on paper the easiest schedule in their remaining matches facing teams that are 5-7 in the standings. They lose two players to Eagles duty in Paul Lasike and David Tameilau and one player to Tonga in Kurt Morath, the later for the final two matches.Due to the competitive nature of the League, matches can’t be taken for granted.
NOLA Gold loses Hubert Buydens to Canada and have proven they can deal with the loss of several key players. They will need to win and likely get bonus points in at least 2 of their final 3 matches to have a chance for the playoffs.
The two teams that will likely contend for the top two positions are teh Glendale Raptors and the Seattle Seawolves. Glendale will have four players on teh Eagles squad and the Seawolves have one, but with another two playing for Canada. Glendale had a narrow win in the first match, and until beaten should be slight favorites.
The Seattle Seawolves opened the first ten minutes of the match with three converted tries to take a 21-0 lead. The first had the Seawolves going through multiple phases with Will Holder offloading to Brock Staller for a try and a conversion. The second had the Seawolves taking a tighthead in the scrum and after an Eric Duechle break, the team took advantage of numbers right with Staller scroing in the corner and then adding the conversion. The third try came from offload by Shalom Suniula to Eric Duechle, who ran 30-meters for the try, with Staller agin converting.
New Orleans Gold then struck back after a penalty by the Seawolves. A kick to touch, a lineout and a then a maul had John Sullivan scoring a try. Taylor Howden then converted to cut the lead to 21-7.
Seattle answered back right away as Mat Turner found a seam and weaved through defenders for a try and a Staller conversion, increasing the lead to 31-7.
In the 37th minute, NOLA Gold was held up in-goal and after the 5-meter scrum, Staller was sent to the bin and a penalty try was awarded, cutting the lead to 31-14. In the final minute before the break, Testimoni Tongauiha added a try and Howden converted and it was 31-21.
The momentum appeared to change as NOLA Gold added a fourth try gaining a bonus point as Michael Baska scored a try. The lead was within a converted try at 31-26. Then the momentum swung to the Seawolves for the remainder of the match.
A Will Holder penalty kick increased the lead to 34-26. Aladdin Schirmer added a try after a Phil Mack tackle at the New Orleans 22-meter lead to a turnover. Holder then converted pushing the lead to 41-26.
NOLA Gold was within 5-meters from the line before a Seawolves counterruck by Mozac Samson led to a turnover. Turner kicked ahead into touch. A NOLA Gold lineout was overthrown to John Hayden. A Nakai Penny pop pass to Dan Trierweiler resulted in a try. Staller converted to push the lead to 48-26.
The Seawolves added a final try by Mat Turner and a conversion by Staller, increasing the lead to 55-26. That would be the way it would end.
Eric Duechle was named Forward leader of the Pack for the Seawolves.
Seattle Seawolves & New Orleans Gold Squads
Seattle Seawolves: 1 Olive Kilifi 2 3 Tim Metcher 4 Taylor Krumrei 5 Jeremy Lenaerts 6 Eric Dueschle 7 Vili Toluta’u 8 Aladdin Schirmer (VC) 9 Phil Mack 10 Will Holder 11 Peter Tiberio 12 Shalom Suniula 13 William Rasileka 14 Brock Staller 15 Mat Turner 16 Dan Trierweiler 17 Kellen Gordon 18 John Hayden 19 Cole Van Harn 20 Nakai Penny 21 Andre Coquillard 22 Mozac Samson 23 Sequoyah Burke-Combs
New Orleans Gold: 1 Hubert Buydens 2 Eric Howard (VC) 3 Ben Tarr 4 Nikola Bursic 5 John Sullivan 6 Tesimoni Tongauiha 7 Matt Hughston 8 Chad Joseph 9 Holden Yungert 10 Ratu Rinakama 11Joeli Tikoisuva 12 Taylor Howden (C) 13 Zack Stryffeler 14 Tim Falcon 15 Michael Baska 16 Amro Gouda 17 Cameron Falcon 18 Derrek Van Klein 19 Matt Wirken 20 Myles McQuone 21 Brennan Falcon 22 Tevita Makasini 23 Bobby Johns + Head Coach Nate Osborne
Seattle Seawolves Pre-season Record (1-0)
- April 15 vs. Wolf Pack (W 47-7)
Seattle Seawolves 2018 Major League Rugby Schedule
- April 22 vs. San Diego Legion (W 39-23) Preview ROOT SPORTS, ESPN+
- April 28 vs. Glendale Raptors (L 19-15) Preview CBSSN (GAME OF THE WEEK)
- May 12 at NOLA Gold (W 31-29) Preview Cox/AT&T SportsNet
- May 20 vs. Utah Warriors (W 41-32) Preview Root Sports NW
- May 27 vs NOLA Gold (W 55-26) Preview Cox/AT&T SportsNet
- June 8 at Austin Elite 6:00 pm PDT Network: CBSSN (GAME OF THE WEEK)
- June 16 at Glendale Raptors 6:00 pm Network: AT&T SportsNet
New Orleans Gold Pre-Season
- Jan. 3 Open Training Camp
- Jan. 20 vs. Capital Rugby Union Selects (W 68-15) Preview
- Feb. 24 at Houston SaberCats (L 30-12) Preview
- March 10 at Glendale Raptors (L 38-14) Preview
- March 24 vs Houston SaberCats (D 32-32) Preview
- March 31 vs Austin Elite (W 48-17) Preview
- April 7 at Austin Elite (W 38-10) Preview with March 31 recap
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 (L 55-26) Preview 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)