NOLA Gold Rugby Club has been the surprise team of the 2019 Major League Rugby season. They are 2-0 with a 36-31 win over the Toronto Arrows and a 40-31 win over the Glendale Raptors last week.
NOLA Gold will host the 2018 MLR Shield Champions, the Seattle Seawolves on Saturday, February 9 at 3 pm CT at Gold Stadium. Tickets are available for the match, and for those who can’t attend on ESPN+ and for the international audience, on the Major League Rugby FaceBook page.
The Seattle Seawolves opened the season with a 20-18 win over the Glendale Raptors and then lost on the road to the San Diego legion 17-13.
NOLA Gold Head Coach has made two changes to his starting XV as Ignacio Dotti returns from the Uruguay National team for this important match against the Seawolves. Scott Gale will miss the match, with Nick Feakes gaining his first start at flyhalf.
NOLA Gold has impressed to begin the season, but injuries have taken its toll. Tim Maupin, Vince Jobo, and Bobby Johns are out, with Nikola Bursic not mentioned since the preseason. The ARC has also claimed Eric Howard, Kyle Baillie, and Cam Dolan for international duty. The team’s composition kept the ARC in mind, but teams can’t plan for injuries.
Richie Walker has made three changes to his starting XV with JP Smith starting at scrumhalf for the first time and Ben Cima returning after a week’s absence. Eric Duechle moved to flanker with Vili Toluta’u suffering an injury last week. Shalom Suniula moved from flyhalf to inside center with George Barton moving to the reserves.
The match shapes up to be a good one with NOLA Gold clicking on all cylinders, while last year’s champion, the Seawolves will seek to plug the Seawall after last week’s loss to San Diego.
NOLA Gold: 1 Hubert Buydens 2 Matt Harmon 3 Ben Tarr (VC) 4 Ignacio Dotti 5 Billy Stewart 6 John Sullivan 7 Zack Stryffeler 8 Kane Thompson 9 Holden Yungert 10 Nick Feakes 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 William Waguespack 20 Malcolm May 21 Caleb Meyer 22 Michael Baska 23 Cam Troxler
Seattle Seawolves: 1 Olive Kilifi 2 Stephan Coetzee 3 Tim Metcher 4 Apisai Naikatini 5 Taylor Krumrei 6 Eric Duechle 7 Brad Tucker 8 Riekert Hattingh 9 JP Smith 10 Ben Cima 11 Peter Tiberio 12 Shalom Suniula 13 William Rasileka 14 Brock Staller 15 Mat Turner 16 Mike Shepherd 17 Kellen Gordon 18 John Hayden 19 Jérémy Lenaerts 20 Cole Van Harn 21 Phil Mack 22 George Barton 23 Scott Dean