NOLA Gold Rugby Club defeated the Seattle Seawolves 41-31 on Sunday, February 10 at Gold Stadium. NOLA Gold hosts Rugby United New York on May 16 at 3 pm EST, while the Seawolves host the Toronto Arrows on February 17 at 8 pm EST. Win the win, NOLA Gold is 3-0 with three bonus-point wins, while the Seawolves fall to 1-2.
Next week is a bye week for the Americas Rugby Championship, so NOLA Gold will have their internationals back for a week.
The Seawolves attacked from a NOLA Gold clearance kick and put the Gold under pressure. A Gold penalty then led to a Brock Staller kick to take an early 3-0 lead.
The Seawolves attacked again from the restart and after a Gold penalty, kicked to touch. Ignacio Dotti then stole the lineout and cleared. Gold attacked from a scrum and had their first sustained possession. The Seawall held at mid and Howden kicked ahead with Seattle having a lineout at their own 22-meters.
After a breakdown, Holden Yungert went blind and grubbed ahead with the ball bouncing into touch. The Seawolves gathered the ball from the lineout and Tristan Blewett had a crushing tackle on Cima. A penalty by the Seawolves allowed JP Eloff to level the match at 3 all.
NOLA Gold created a penalty driving a Seattle Seawolves scrum on their back foot. Gold started to gain momentum going through phases, but they were penalized for holding onto the ball by Tarr. A kick by JP Smith was taken by Blewett and forced out in-goal by Peter Tiberio for a 5-meter Seawolves scrum. CAm Foley was then sent to the bin for a chop tackle in the 18th minute.
The Seawolves elected to attack from a 5-meter scrum. The ball went wide to Turner, who knocked the ball forward with JoJo Tikoisuva in his sight. What a break for NOLA Gold as they take a scrum inside their 22-meters. The clearance kick then was mishandled by Turner giving Gold a lineout inside Seawolves territory at midfield.
William Rasileka stripped John Sullivan and Gold were penalized for a dump tackle on Turner. This resulted in a Brock Staller penalty attempt, but it was wide left.
The Seawolves attacked from a lineout at midfield. A Cima offload and a few passes later had Mat Turner touching down and after Staller converted the lead was 10-3.
The Seawolves gathered the restart and then NOLA Gold attacked from a high ball after a penalty. Gold drove after a lineout. After a penalty advantage to GOLD, they spurned a kick at the posts and attacked from a lineout. Ignacio Dotti finished low for a try. Eloff then slotted the conversion to level the match at 10 all.
NOLA Gold gathered the restart and after phases Gold kicked the ball directly into touch just outside their 22-meters, giving the Seawolves a lineout there. The Seawolves lost the ball about 7-meters from in-goal, as the ball bounced off a Gold player and Eloff cleared.
A high ball by Turner led to a penalty to Gold as the Seawolves had not retreated behind their kicker. Gold then kicked for territory and mauled from a lineout. This led to a penalty try for collapsing the maul and giving NOLA Gold a 17-10 lead at the break.
After the initial momentum from the Seawolves, NOLA Gold was able to find attacking opportunities in spite of the staunch Seawall defense. NOLA Gold had the edge in the set pieces, winning a couple of Seawolves lineouts and creating a scrum penalty from a Seawolves put in.
Both teams were able to take advantage of each other’s errors. The ball is equally distributed between the forwards and backs, with both team’s defense strong. In any given moment though, watch for a piercing attack.
The match could go either way and it remains to be seen if one team can get an advantage during the second half. In any event, penalties need to be avoided and could decide the match.
The restart went to the Seawolves 22-meters. A box kick was taken by NOLA Gold and shortly after, Holden Yungert was tackled high. Eloff slotted the kick to push the lead to 20-10.
Eloff attacked from the restart and then chipped ahead. Blewett chased and the Seawolves knock on. NOLA Gold attacked from the 5-meter scrum. A few forward picks and NOLA Gold was held up giving Gold another 5-meter scrum. After a reset, Kane Thompson picked. After multiple attempts by the forwards. Taylor Howden dummied and grounded for the team’s third try. Eloff then extended the lead to 27-10.
NOLA Gold advanced the ball to just inside Seawolves territory, but a penalty gave the Seawolves a lineout after kicking for territory. A knock on then gave NOLA Gold a scrum and after a kick to the Seawolves and a return to Gold, a penalty had Gold kicking to touch with a lineout about 25-meter from in-goal. This time, the Seawolves spoiled the set piece and led to a Seawolves scrum. A high tackle by Feakes then allowed the Seawolves to kick for territory.
Eric Duechle fought his way inside NOLA Gold’s 22-meters and Gold was penalized with the Seawolves electing a 5-meter scrum. Api Naikatini then powered his way in for a try at close range with Staller slotting the conversion to cut the lead to 27-17.
A clearance kick by the Seawolves from the restart was mishandled by Eloff. The Seawolves attacked from a lineout at midfield and after a penalty for leaving their feet, resulted in Cima kicking for territory. This gave the Seawolves a 5-meter lineout. The play was stopped as Brad Tucker fell unsupported to the turf.
Seattle attacked from a 5-meter scrum with Gold’s defense repelling multiple attempts before Kellen Gordon grounded under the posts leading to an easy conversion to cut the lead to 27-24.
Gold took a Seawolves lineout just inside the Seawolves 22-meters and the opportunity was squandered by losing the ball forward. After NOLA Gold regained possession, the Seawolves were penalized for leaving their feet and attacked from 10-meters from in-goal. After several picks, Taylor Howden passed wide right to Blewett who raced in and then tried to center the ball. This led to an easier Eloff conversion and pushed the lead to 34-24. It also gave NOLA Gold a bonus point for scoring their 4th try.
NOLA Gold then stole a lineout and Eloff had a long break and offloaded to Cam Foley and was finished by JoJo Tikoisuva for a try. Eloff then slotted the conversion from touch to push the lead to 41-24. NOLA Gold may have sealed the match with six minutes remaining.
The Seawolves pushed ahead knowing that time was of the essence, but after going through multiple phases, the ball was knocked on. Zach Stryffeler needed to leave the pitch under his own power on the play.
Peter Tiberio found a gap and was tackled by high Nick Feakes. The Seawolves attacked from a lineout with Riekert Hattingh scoring a bonus point 4th try and after the conversion, the lead was cut to 41-31. The Seawolves again attacked and from a lineout a midfield. The ball went wide left and when it drifted into touch, NOLA Gold claimed a 41-31 win.
NOLA Gold has opened their season at 3-0, all bonus point wins and tops the table with 15 points. The Seattle Seawolves are in 4th place with 6 points but tied with the Toronto Arrows in points. Both Taylor Towden and Tristan Blewett have scored three tries on the season.
Teams have not identified their MAN of the Match. For NOLA Gold, it could go to Taylor Howden, Tristan Blewett, JP Eloff or Nick Feakes. The forwards as a whole were outstanding.
For the Seawolves, Riekert Hattingh, Peter Tiberio, Ben Cima, and Eric Duechle all had clutch performances. Both defenses repelled their opponents in defending in-goal. It was a real team effort and both teams left everything they had on the pitch.
JP Eloff And Peter Tiberio were Named Man of the Match by their respective teams.
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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