Utah Warriors & NOLA Gold Rugby
The Utah Warriors host the New Orleans Gold Rugby Club with both clubs seeking the Major League Playoffs. The Warriors have a 2-4 record and are in 5th place, while NOLA Gold has a 2-5 record and are in 6th place.
The race for the final two playoff spots is close with Austin Elite Rugby in 3rd (18 points), San Diego Legion 4th (16 points), Utah Warriors 5th (15 points), and NOLA Gold Rugby 6th (12 points). Only the Houston SaberCats with 10 points have been eliminated from the playoffs.
NOLA Rugby will need to get a bonus point win and hope that Austin Elite Rugby beat the San Diego Legion to keep their playoff hopes alive. A Utah Warriors will eliminate New Orleans Gold from the playoffs. Either a Warriors bonus point win coupled with an Austin Elite Rugby non bonus point loss against the Legion, or two wins with a San Diego loss, could insure a playoff spot.
In other weekend matches, the first place Glendale Raptors and the second place Seattle Seawolves, each have 29 points, meet on Saturday with the regular season title on the line. On Sunday, the San Diego Legion host Austin Elite Rugby. The winner will be in the playoffs, however the final spot could be determined next week when the Utah Warriors play the Houston SaberCats and the San Diego Legion host the Glendale Raptors.
The kickoff for the Warriors match against NOLA Gold at Sions Bank Stadium is a 2 pm MT (4 pm ET). Tickets are still available. For those who can’t attend, the match may be viewed on CBS Sports Network, as it is the game of the week. Internationally the match is on the Major League Rugby Facebook page.
Head Coach Alf Daniels has made four changes since the 41-33 loss to Austin Elite Rugby on June 1. Alex Tucci, Tevita Tameilau, and Don Pati return to their starting roles at loosehead prop, No. 8, and at fulback, respectively. Iniki Fa’amausili gets the start at outside center. Two positional changes were also made with Saia ‘Uhila moving to lock and AJ Tuineau moving to inside center.
The Warriors close out their season with consecutive home matches against Austin Elite Rugby and the Houston SaberCats. Wins in both matches are critical as the team is contending with both Austin Elite Rugby or the San Diego Legion for the playoffs. Even with a loss to NOLA Gold, the team could still make the playoffs should the Legion lose their final two matches and the team wins against the Houston SAberCats next week.
NOLA Gold Rugby
Head Coach Nate Osborne has made three changes to his starters. Matt Wirken is at lock, Bobby Johns at outside center, and Michael Baska at fullback. Tesimoni Tongauiha also switches from outside center to flanker with Matt Hughston starting at No. 8. Alec Janotka also enters the squad as a reserve.
New Orleans has been a better club then then record indicates. Although the rugby pungits have picked the Warriors to win, the game still is determined on the pitch. NOLA Gold has pride and is expected to challenge for the win.
This is the last match of the Major League Rugby regular season for NOLA Gold Rugby Club. The team does not control its own destiny to make the playoffs. That would require a bonus point win over the Utah Warriors coupled with a loss by the San Diego legion to Austin Elite Rugby. After that, the team would need both the Warriors and the Legion to lose the following week to the Houston SaberCats and the Glendale Raptors respectively. In either week, both Utah and San Diego could not get bonus point losses or then point differential could come into play.
Utah Warriors Squads & New Orleans Gold
Utah Warriors: 1 Alex Tucci, 2 Lote Tu’ipulotu, 3 Angus MacLellan, 4 Matt Jensen, 5 Saia Uhila, 6 John Cullen, 7 Ara Elkington, 8 Tevita ‘David’ Tameilau, 9 Joseph Nicholls, 10 Jonny Linehan, 11 Fetu’u Vainikolo, 12 AJ Tu’ineau, 13 Iniki Fa’amausili,14 Tonata Lauti, 15 Don Pati 16 Ray Forrester, 17 Maka Tameilau, 18 Les Soloai, 19 Lance Williams, 20 Wineera Elkington 21 Josh Anderson, 22 Vern Ale 23 Ben Nicholls + Head Coach Alf Daniels
New Orleans Gold: 1 Hubert Buydens, 2 Cam Falcon, 3 Ben Tarr, 4 Nikola Bursic (VC) 5 Matt Wirken 6 Tesimoni Tongaioha 7 Brennan Falcon, 8 Matt Hughston, 9 Holden Yungert, 10 JP Eloff, 11 Joeli Tikoisuva, 12 Taylor Howden (capt.), 13 Bobby Johns 14 Tim Maupin 15 Michael Baska 16 Amro Gouda, 17 Anthony Parry, 18 Alec Janotka 19 Myles McQuone, 20 John Sullivan, 21 Tevita Makasini, 22 Ratu Peceli Rinakama, 23 Cameron Troxler + Head Coach Nate Osborne
Utah Warriors Pre-season
- March 30 vs Glendale Raptors (L 42-15) Preview
- April 7 vs. Ontario Arrows (L 24-20) Preview + match recap vs. Glendale
- April 20 vs Prairie Wolf Pack (W 80-12) Preview
Utah Warriors 2018 Major League Rugby Season
- April 29 at San Diego Legion (L 31-24) Preview Cox/AT&T SportsNet, ESPN+
- May 5 vs Glendale Raptors (L 36-29) Preview AT&T SportsNet, ESPN+
- May 11 vs Austin Elite Rugby (W 42-21) Preview CBSSN, ESPN+
- May 20 at Seattle Seawolves (L 41-32) Preview ROOT SPORTS, ESPN+
- May 26 at Houston SaberCats (W 36-30) Preview AT&T SportsNet, ESPN+
- June 1 at Austin Elite Rugby (L 41-33) Preview AT&T SportsNet, ESPN+
- June 16 vs New Orleans Gold Preview 2 pm MDT Network: CBSSN, ESPN+
- June 23 vs Houston SaberCats Preview 1 pm Network: AT&T SportsNet, ESPN+
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 (L 47-10) Preview Cox/AT&T
- June 9 Home vs. San Diego Legion (L 39-22) Preview COX
- June 16 At Utah Warriors Preview 3 pm CDT Network: CBSSN (GAME OF THE WEEK)
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