NOLA Gold Rugby hosts Dallas RFC at 2 pm CT on Saturday, January 12 at Gold Stadium, 1000 Salesian LN, Marrero, Louisiana. Gift-time Rugby Network will be streaming the match on their Facebook Page.
NOLA Gold is 3-0 in the preseason with wins over USA Rugby South, Stars Rugby, and the Midwest Selects. The team opens their Major League Rugby season on January 26 at home against the Toronto Arrows.
Dallas RFC played the Houston SaberCats on December 8 and competed well in the match. The Reds will host Austin Elite Rugby at 3:30 pm on January 19. The fixtures against MLR clubs will help the club prepare for their club season and at a run for the USA Rugby Club Nationals later in the year.
Nate Osborne continues to shift match day leadership roles for NOLA Gold Rugby. JP Eloff will captain the side with Nikola Bursic the vice-captain. The team will have Tristan Blewett at 13 and Samoan international Kane Thompson making his debut for the Gold. Bobby Johns, Cam Troxler and Vince Jobo return to the team from injury and will be available off the bench.
This is the last preseason match before the regular season begins. Team consistency is a desired goal and their are only two changes is the starting XV from last week. The team has controlled the scrums and with 6’7″ Kane Thompson, 6’6″ Cam Dolan, 6’5″ Kyle Baillie, and 6’5″ Ignacio Dotti in the lineout, the team should control the set pieces.
NOLA Gold Rugby Club plays at a fast pace and seeks to swing the ball side-to-side to create numbers mismatches. The team has had a strong offensive showing in their three matches against representative sides and will look to attack against one of the strongest club teams in the U.S., the Dallas Reds.
NOLA Gold also has two very good kickers in Scott Gale, who plays both flyhalf and scrumhalf, as well as JP Eloff. Scott is a left-footed kicker, while Eloff is right footed. The team used this to its advantage later in the match last week, using each kicker based on field position.
The Dallas Reds have made five changes in the starting XV since they played the Houston SaberCats. Jeff Robertson will start at hooker with Javier Lopez a reserve, Richard Stevens will start a lock in place of Lee Foliaki, Tyler Miller is at scrumhalf replacing Chris Saint, Zack Klump moves to wing and former Eagle and San Diego Legion wing, Zee Ngwenya is at #14.
The Dallas Reds also have former NOLA Gold back row Chad Joseph at flanker. Dale Ross will captain the side.
The match against the Houston SaberCats was a close one during the first half in terrible playing conditions. The SaberCats scored a few times during the second half to seal the win. The Reds will benefit from that contest, but will face the challenge of a team that seeks to move the ball wide in NOLA Gold. Normally the SaberCats do this also, but conditions impacted both team’s game plan.
Get to know the NOLA Gold Rugby players! Links for articles are below.
NOLA Gold: 1 Hubert Buydens 2 Eric Howard 3 Ben Tarr 4 Kane Thompson 55 Ignacio Dotti 6 Nikola Bursic (VC) 7 Kyle Baille 8 Cam Dolan 9 Holden Yungert 10 Scott Gale 11 JoJo Tikoisuva 12 Cam Foley 13 Tristan Blewett 14 Tim Maupin 15 JP Eloff 16 Matt Harmon 17 Cam Falcon 18 Kevin Sullivan 19 Mason Briant 20 William Waguespack 21 John Sullivan 22 Vince Jobo 23 Zack Stryffeler 24 Taylor Howden 25 Bobby Johns 26 Cam Troxler
Dallas RFC: 1 Simba Massarurwa 2 Jeff Robertson 3 Ross Davies 4 Kevin Harrell 5 Jonny Heron 6 Richard Stevens 7 Chad Joseph 8 Dale Ross (C) 9 Tyler Miller 10 Blake Boulton 11 Zack Klump 12 Jake Campey 13 Rob McDermott 14 Zee Ngwenya 15 Michael Kenealy 16 Javier Davila-Lopez 17 Chris Hopkins 18 Kuda Makuvire 19 Bentley Alsup 20 Alek Hernandez 21 Jake Bacon 22 Kelly Kolberg 23 Alex Elali