NOLA Gold Rugby and the Toronto Arrows open up the 2019 Major League Rugby season with the Gold prevailing 36-31at Gold Stadium in Marrero, LA. Fans could not ask for a more exciting match.
Next Saturday, NOLA Gold will host the Glendale Raptors at 2 pm CT, while the Toronto Arrows have a bye week and play at Austin Elite Rugby on Friday, February 8.
NOLA Gold vs Toronto Arrows Match Recap
NOLA Gold controlled the early possession and struck first with a try by Scott Gale. JP Eloff slotted the conversion to lead 7-0. Midway in the half, the Arrows utilized multiple picks with John Moonlight picking up a try. Sam Malcolm then slotted the kick from near touch to knot the match at 7 all.
NOLA Gold struck right back as Eloff stepped and offloaded to Cam Dolan to Tim Maupin for a try in the right corner. Quick ball by Gold is causing some havoc for the Arrows. The restart again went to NOLA Gold and Tim Maupin raced down touch, but Jack Evans tripped him, resulting in his being sent to the bin.
Gold answered with two tries, the first by Eric Howard from close range, with Eloff converting for a 19-7 lead. NOLA then had a team try from a Kyle Baillie run and multiple offloads with Cam Foley finishing the team’s 4th try, gaining a bonus point and pushing the lead to 24-7.
Neither team would score again with Gold giving up a penalty deep inside Arrows territory. Malcolm elected to kick to touch and regroup for the second half.
NOLA Gold had the majority of possession in the first half, as they used a quick ball to swing the ball from side to side. It is critical that the Arrows score early in the second half or the match. The Arrows went through over 20 phases with Shawn Windsor offloading to Dan Moor for a try in the right corner. Malcolm slotted the conversion to cut the lead to 24-14.
The Arrows have placed pressure on Gold and used quick hands by Spencer Jones to Dan Moor for his second try, cutting the lead to 24-19 after Malcolm’s conversion miss.
NOLA Gold attacked from a penalty with a Howden run and offload to Jobo to within 5-meters. After several picks the ball went wide to Howden, who offloaded to Eloff for a try. Gale’s slotted the conversion to push the lead to 31-19 with 11 minutes remaining.
The Toronto Arrows attacked from the restart with strong runs by Francis, Moor, and Wainwright. A deliberate deflection in trying to pick off the pass resulted in a penalty try to the Arrows and a bonus point.
The Arrows claimed the restart, but a block box kick by Riley DiNardo was gathered by Blewett for a try, 36-26 after Gale’s kick was short.
The Arrows struck right back with a quick ball going from Riley DiNardo to Avery Oitomen, who stretched over for a try, cutting the lead to 36-31. The conversion by Malcolm was then missed.
The Arrows had one more attack from a lineout at midfield. The ball went left to Dan Moor, but the offload went off Lloyd’s fingertips into touch. That preserved the 36-31 win for NOLA Gold.
NOLA Gold controlled much of the first half possession, with only 2 turnovers and a couple of lineout steals. The Arrows had some unforced handling errors as Gold took a 24-7 lead at the break. The Arrows came back strong in the second half, having several sustained attacks and with Gold having some unforced handling errors. The scrums were relatively even, with Gold taking an Arrows tighthead. The lineout edge went to Gold.
The key play of the match was a blocked box kick which led to a Tristan Blewett try. He was a key contributor on both offense and defense and was named Man of the Match.
The crowd saw some match, which tries coming fast and furious in the second half. NOLA Gold prevailed in the end, with Gold picking up a bonus win and the Arrows picking up two bonus points in the loss.
Squads With Player Article Links & Match Preview
NOLA Gold: 1 Hubert Buydens 2 Eric Howard (C) 3 Ben Tarr 4 Kane Thompson 5 Billy Stewart 6 Kyle Baille 7 Zack Stryffeler 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 Malcolm May 20 John Sullivan 21 Vince Jobo 22 Taylor Howden 23 Nick Feakes
Toronto Arrows: 1 Rob Brouwer 2 AJ Quattrin 3 Cole Keith 4 Mike Sheppard 5 Paul Ciulini 6 Peter Milazzo 7 John Moonlight 8 Lucas Rumball (C) 9 Andrew Ferguson 10 Sam Malcolm 11Kainoa Lloyd 12 Jamie Leveridge 13 Spencer Jones14 Dan Moor 15 Jack Evans 16 Steven Ng 17 18 Morgan Mitchell 19 Kolby Francis 20 Marcello Wainwright 21 Riley DiNardo 22 Johnny Sheridan (late replacement Avery Oitomen) 23 Shawn Windsor