The Utah Warriors lost 21-19 to NOLA Gold Rugby Club on Saturday, March 2, 2019, at Zions Bank Stadium in Herriman, Utah. Nick Feakes scored a hat trick in the final minute to steal an apparent win by the Warriors.
With the win, NOLA Gold’s record improves to 4-1 and they regain first-place in the league with 21 points. The Utah Warriors are in 7th place with a 1-2-1 record and 7 points.
On Friday, March 8, Utah will host Rugby United New York, while NOLA Gold has a bye week before resuming play in Houston on March 16 against the SaberCats.
The match between the Utah Warriors and NOLA Gold Rugby was played in the snow. This impacted the attack, but surprisingly there was a minimum of handling errors in the match.
The Utah Warriors struck first from a 5-meter scrum with Lance Williams powering over for a try and O’Malley converting for a 7-0 lead. NOLA Gold then cut the lead to 7-6 after two JP Eloff kicks.
The Warriors then answered back with a try by Franco Van den Berg and an O’Malley conversion to push the lead to 14-6. Kane Thompson was also sent to the bin on the play.
Despite being down a man, NOLA Gold’s Nick Feakes try cut the lead to 14-11.
In the 37th minute, Jeremy Misailegalu was sent to the bin for hitting Eloff while in the air. NOLA Gold capitalized with a break by Blewett that led to a Nick Feakes try to take a 16-14 lead at the break.
NOLA Gold had the first scoring opportunity in the second half with Cam Falcon being held up. From the ensuing 5-meter scrum, the Warriors won a tight head and were able to clear.
In the 60th minute, the Warriors attacked from a lineout and Logan Daniels mauled over for a try to reclaim a 19-16 lead. O’Malley’s conversion then bounced off the posts.
NOLA Gold then made some interesting choices when they had two opportunities to kick at goal. Whether there was concern over kicking in the snow or that the team wanted to go for a win rather than a tie, is unknown. Both decisions did not result in a try. A third opportunity resulted in Moni Tongauiha being held up in-goal.
After a couple of 5-meter scrums, NOLA Gold still did not score, however, Lance Williams was sent to the bin. Credit Scott Gale for a clutch pass wide left for a Nick Feakes winning try in the corner in the final minute.
Both teams played well under the adverse conditions with NOLA Gold claiming a 21-19 victory.
Man of the Match honors went to Nick Feakes for his hat trick performance. Read the Utah Warriors recap which includes match statistics.
Squads with Player Article Links & Match Preview
Utah Warriors: 1 Franco Van den Berg 2 Logan Daniels 3 Angus Maclellan 4 Matt Jensen 5 Saia Uhila 6 Lance Williams 7 Ara Elkington 8 John Cullen (VC) 9 Johnny Ika 10 James Semple 11Fetu’u Vanikolo 12 Tim O’Malley (C) 13 Jeremy Misailegalu 14 Tonata Lauti 15 Josh Whippy 16 Blake Burdette 17 Huluhola Moungaloa 18 Jackson Kaka19 Kenny Scott 20 Alex Tucci 21 Nolan Tuamoheloa 22 Josh Anderson 23 Ian Luciano + Head Coach Alf Daniels
NOLA Gold: 1 Kevin Sullivan 2 Eric Howard (C) 3 Ben Tarr 4 William Waguespack 5 Billy Stewart 6 John Sullivan 7 Zack Stryffeler 8 Kane Thompson 9 Holden Yungert 10 Scott Gale 11 Nick Feakes 12 Con Foley 13 Taylor Howden 14 Tristan Blewett 15 JP Eloff (C) 16 Matt Harmon 17 Cam Falcon 18 Mason Briant 19 Moni Tongauiha 20 Kevin O’Connor 21 Michael Baska 22 Bobby Johns 23 Shawn Riley