NOLA Gold Rugby vs Glendale Raptors: 2019 MLR Preview

In Major League Rugby Round 2 action, NOLA Gold Rugby Club hosts the Glendale Raptors at Gold Stadium at 2 pm CT on Saturday, February 2 in Marrero, Louisiana. NOLA Gold opened their season last week with a 36-31 win over the Toronto Arrows, while the Glendale Raptors lost to the Seattle Seawolves 20-18. Tickets are available, but for those who can’t attend, the match is being broadcast on ESPN+

The Utah Warriors are pleased to announce their broadcast partners for the 2019 MLR season. All games will be available locally via streaming broadcast partnership with KSL.com andDeseretNews.com starting with tonight’s match at Austin.

Both teams are missing several players to the 2019 Americas Rugby Championship that begins tomorrow, February 2.

NOLA Gold has made four changes in their starters and a positional change with Kane Thompson moving to No. 8. Matt Harmon gets his first MLR to start at hooker with internationals Hubert Buydens and Ben Tarr at prop. William Waguespack and John Sullivan also move to the starters at lock and flanker, respectively. Billy Stewart is the other lock and Zach Stryffeler a flanker.

There is on back change with Taylor Howden moving from the reserves to start at outside center with last week’s MVP, Tristan Blewett moving to the wing. The halfbacks are Holden Yungert and Scott Gale. Con Foley pairs with Howden in the centers and JoJo Tikoisuva and captain JP Eloff round out the back three.

The reserves include a new addition to the team in Caleb Meyer. The former University of Utah All-American could provide relief at flanker or at prop. There is already a set of front row replacements in masonBriant, Cam Falcon and Kevin Sullivan. Malcolm May provides cover in the back row.

Backs reserves include three versatile former CollegaiteAll-American backs in Nick Feakes, Cam Troxler and Michael Baska.

Look for NOLA Gold to play the match at a fast pace. The team likes to play expansive rugby, keeping teams honest with crash balls down the middle of the pitch.

The Glendale Raptors have a veteran presence in the forwards and will try to challenge NOLA Gold early in the scrums, as NOLA Gold lost four forwards to international duty.

The Raptors will reply on a South African halfback combination in Carlo De Nysschen and Robbie Petzer, who have played together as reserves.  The centers include a former Eagle in Chad London and an up and coming player in Mika Kruse. Dylan Taikato-Simpson has been an outstanding addition at fullback, with the speedy and elusive Harley Davidson and the powerful runner, John Ryberg the wings.

The Raptors front row of Blake Rogers, Chad Gough, and New Zealander Marco Fepulea’i. They are backed up at lock by USA Eligible Luke White from Australia and Eagle Brendan Daly. The back row includes Australian William Munro, former Eagle Peter Dahl, and Connor Cook at No. 8.

NOLA Gold Rugby enters the match in first place with five points after week one. They are an explosive team that looks to exploit any seams in the defense. That will be a challenge, as the Raptors have a deliberate attack and are an excellent defensive team. Both teams are among the best teams in the league, which makes for a challenging match and an exciting one for the fans.

NOLA Gold: 1 Hubert Buydens 2 Matt Harmon 3 Ben Tarr (VC) 4 William Waguespack 5 Billy Stewart 6 John Sullivan7 Zack Stryffeler 8 Kane Thompson 9 Holden Yungert 10 Scott Gale 11 JoJo Tikoisuva 12 Cam Foley 13 Taylor Howden 14 Tristan Blewett 15 JP Eloff (C) 16 Mason Briant 17 Cam Falcon 18 Kevin Sullivan 19 Malcolm May 20 Caleb Meyer 21 Nick Feakes 22 Cam Troxler 23 Michael Baska

Glendale Raptors: 1 Blake Rogers 2 Chad Gough 3 Marco Fepulea’i 4 Luke White 5 Brendan DalyWilliam Munro 7 Peter Dahl 8 Connor Cook 9 Carlo De Nysschen 10 Robbie Petzer 11 Harley Davidson 12 Chad London13 Mika Kruse 14 John Ryberg 15 Dylan Taikato-Simpson 16 Zach Fenoglio 17 Max Lum 18 Kelepi Fifita19 Casey Rock 20 Jason Damm 21 Mickey Bateman 22 Ata Malifa 23 Nick Johnson

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North American Rugby News With A USA Slant