NOLA Gold defeated the Major League Rugby Eastern Conference leaders Rugby United New York 51-28 at the Gold Mine on Airline on Saturday, March 27.
NOLA Gold picked up a bonus-point win and have 8 points in the standings with a 1-0-1 record. Rugby United New York also had a bonus point in the loss and have 6 points, with a 1-1 record.
Both teams have a bye week next week with NOLA Gold then hosting Austin Gilgronis on April 10. RUNY will travel to Rugby ATL after their bye week the same day.
Last week NOLA Gold came back to gain a bonus point 26 all draw against Old Glory DC in their home opener. Rugby United New York braved gale force winds in Las Vegas in their 36-29 win over San Diego Legion.
Last week’s match team statistics below were on the MLR App. Download the MLR app for the team, player information, results, and standings.
NOLA Gold struck first after Joeli Titoisuva stole a RUNY pass, which resulted in a try and followed with a conversion by Carl Meyer, 7-0. A short time later, Meyer slotted a penalty goal to push the lead to 10-0.
New York continued to play the ball quickly and move the ball back and forth wide. This resulted in a try by Ben Foden, with Dan Hollinshead converting to pull within three, 10-7.
Discipline continued to plague NOLA Gold with Joeli Tikoisuva sent to the bin for team repeat infractions. A high tackle on Julian Dominguez had Quinn Ngawati sent to the bin for RUNY and resulted in a penalty try for Gold, 17-7.
A NOLA Gold attack from a lineout 5-meters from in-goal had a Gold player held up in-goal. From the ensuing 5-meter scrum, a Cam Dolan pick. added the team’s third try. Meyer again slotted to lead 24-7.
Rugby United New York continued playing expansive rugby which led to a Fasi Fuatai try and Hollinshed conversion to cut the lead to 24-14.
In the 32nd minute, Tesimoni Tongauiha was sent to the bin for repeat infringements. This lead to a Samu Tawake try and conversion by Hollinshead, 24-21.
NOLA Gold capitalized on a RUNY infraction with Carl Meyer slotting the kick to take a 27-21 lead into the break.
NOLA Gold opened the second half with another try by Joeli Tikoisuva, who stole an errant RUNY pass and raced in for a try under the posts to push the lead to 34-21 and gain the team a bonus point for their 4th try in the process.
RUNY answered back with the team’s 4th try from a lineout with Ben Bonasso scoring under the posts, 34-28, gaining a team bonus point for the standings.
RUNY appeared on the verge of adding another try, however, a loose ball from a poor pass was kicked ahead by Titoisuva. This resulted in Damien Stevens grounding the ball before the deal-ball line for a try, and then converting to lead 41-28.
Discipline plagued the NOLA Gold all-day and Nikola Bursic was sent to the bin shortly after entering the match for being off his feet, as well as killing the ball at the breakdown. (55th minute)
It was NOLA Gold’s day with Titoisuva taking an offload from Carl Meyers and running down the right wide channel for his hat trick try. Stevens then converted for a 48-28 lead.
In the 69th minute, Stevens would add a penalty goal for insurance and the score held up for a final of 51-28 in favor of NOLA Gold.
This was NOLA Gold’s first win over Rugby United New York after two narrow losses in 2019. Jojo Tikoisuva had a breakout match and was certainly the Man of the Match.
Both teams will have a chance to regroup and plan for their next match in two weeks. NOLA Gold will especially appreciate the timing with Robbie Coleman walking with assistance from the pitch and Carl Meyer leaving in the closing minutes due to foot issues. This left NOLA Gold ending the match with 14 players, as the team included 6 forwards and 2 backs as replacements.
Congratulations to Rugby United New York Conor McManus and Connor Buckley for their first MLR cap.
Squads with Player Article Links & Match Preview
NOLA Gold: 1 Matt Harmon 2 Pat O’Toole 3 Dino Waldren 4 Kyle Baillie (c) 5 Ignacio Dotti 6 Tesimoni Tongauiha 7 Andrew Guerra 8 Cam Dolan 9 Holden Yungert 10 Robbie Coleman 11 Julian Dominguez 12 Juan Cappiello 13 JP Du Plessis (VC) 14 Joeli Tikoisuva 15 Carl Meyer 16 Eric Howard 17 Kevin Sullivan 18 Brian Nault 19 Billy Stewart 20 Nikola Bursic 21 Devon Short 22 Damian Stevens 23 Timothee Guillimin
Rugby United New York: 1 James Rochford 2 Dylan Fawsitt (c) 3 Samu Tawake 4 Nate Brakeley 5 Charlie Hewitt 6 Hanco Germishuys 7 Kyra Pryor 8 Evan Mintern 9 Andy Ellis 10 Dan Hollinshead 11 Apensia Cakaubalavu 12 Will Leonard 13 Fa’asiu Fuatai 14 Quinn Ngawati 15 Ben Foden 16 Rob Iramescu 17 Anthony Parry 18 Wilton Rebolo 19 Ben Bonasso 20 Connor Buckley 21 Harry Bennett 22 Chris Mattina 23 Conor McManus
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