Match Preview: Rugby ATL vs NOLA Gold

Rugby ATL hosts MLR Eastern Conference rivals NOLA Gold at Lupo Family Field on Life University on Saturday, April 24 at 5:30 pm ET. The match will be broadcast on Cox Sports TV and streamed on 11 Alive, as well as on The Rugby Network.

The Eastern Conference is a very competitive one with only 4 points separating first place Rugby United New York, and fifth place Rugby ATL. NOLA Gold is in second place with 14 points. Rugby ATL enters the match with a 2-3 record, while NOLA Gold is 2-1-1.

The match will feature NOLA Gold’s potent offense against Rugby ATL’s swarming defense in a match that should not be missed. NOLA Gold enters the match against Rugby ATL after last week’s 30-29 win over the New England Free Jacks.

NOLA Gold will be looking to avenge last year’s defeat by Rugby ATL at the Gold Mine.

Rugby ATL Head Coach Scott Lawrence has made six starter changes and two in the reserves. Alex Maughan is at loosehead prop with Chance Wenglewski absent from the matchday roster. Johan Momsen and Jason Damm returning at lock and No.8, respectively, and captain Matt Heaton is back after not being on the roster last week.

The two backs changes has Ryan Rees at scrumhalf with Rowan Gouws moving to the reserves. Te Rangatira Waitokia returns after a minor injury at outside center.

Reserve changes include Will Burke at tighthead prop and Daemon Torres in the back row. The reserves also will have a 6/2 split.

In addition to Chance Wenglewski, Ross Deacon, Robbie Petzer, Manusa Saulo, and Martini Talapusi are not on the matchday roster from last week.

NOLA Gold Head Coach Nate Osborne has made two changes in both the starters and in the reserves. Kevin Sullivan gets his first start of the season at loosehead prop with Matt Harmon moving to the reserves. Captain Kyle Baillie returns after missing a week.

In the reserves, Eric Howard, who was a late scratch last week, will see action at hooker in place of Kevin O’Connor. John Sullivan replaces James Irey at prop. The reserves have a conventional 5/3 split.

Both teams will be looking for a bonus-point win with Rugby ATL entering a bye week before playing Toronto away on May 9 in an away match at their home field. NOLA Gold also faces Toronto next on May 2.

Squads with Player Article Links

Rugby ATL: 1 Alex Maughan 2 Marko Janse Van Rensburg 3 Wikus Groenewald 4 Marno Redinghuys 5 Johan Momsen 6 Connor Cook Matt Heaton (C) Jason Damm 9 Ryan Rees 10 Bautista Ezcurra 11 Rory van Vugt 12 Mark O’Keeffe 13 Te Rangatira Waitokia 14  Jeremy Misailegalu15 Adriaan Carelse16 Neethling Gericke 17 Jonas Petrakopoulos 18  Will Burke 19 Conor Keys 20  Vili Helu 21 Daemon Torres 22 Rowan Gouws 23  Duncan van Schalkwyk

NOLA Gold: 1 Kevin Sullivan 2 Pat O’Toole 3 Dino WaldrenIgnacio DottiKyle Baillie 6 Tesimoni Tongauiha 7 Devon Short 8 Cam Dolan 9 Damian Stevens 10 Timothee Guillimin 11 Julian Dominguez 12 Juan Cappiello 13 JP Du Plessis 14 Joeli Tikoisuva 15 Carl Meyer 16  Eric Howard 17 Matt Harmon 18 John Sullivan 19 Billy Stewart 20 Nikola Bursic 21 Holden Yungert 22 Hanno Dirksen 23 Tim Maupin

Referee: JP Doyle (England); Assistant Referees: Henrique Platais (Brazil) & Cisco Lopez (USA)

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