NOLA Gold hosts Rugby New York on Saturday, March 19 at the Gold Mine, Shrine on Airline. The kickoff is at 8 pm ET (7 pm local) and will be streamed on The Rugby Network and on and YurView. There will be a pregame cook-off at 4 pm local time, as well as music by The Rhythm Kings.
Last week NOLA Gold improved their record to 2-3 with a 32-26 road win over the Dallas Jackals, their second consecutive win. The team moved into fourth place in the Eastern Conference with 9 points in the standings. A win will be critical for NOLA Gold if they want to contend for a playoff spot this year.
The Eastern Conference race has three teams separated by just one point with Rugby ATL in first-place with 20 points, with Rugby New York and New England Free Jacks with 19, and New York in second place after going to the fourth tiebreaker.
Last Sunday, Rugby New York’s flyhalf Jack Heighton Slotted a penalty goal in the 82nd minute to give New York a 26-23 win over San Diego Legion in a battle of second-place teams from opposing conferences.
Head Coach Kane Thompson has made four changes in the starters from last week, as well as one in the reserves. Forward changes include Pat O’Toole at hooker and Malcolm May at lock. Backs changes include Devereaux Ferris at scrumhalf and JP Eloff at fullback with positional changes for JP Du Plessis and Carl Meyer at right-wing and the inside center, respectively.
George Sharpe, a 2021 MLR collegiate draft selection, is a reserve hooker, while last week’s back starters Damian Stevens, Nick Feakes, and Harley Wheeler are reserves.
NOLA Gold in prior years would attack with a flare and often elected to kick to touch after penalties to try and score tires, instead of attempting penalty goals. That is less likely to happen in this match unless Rugby New York gains a sizeable lead.
Carl Meyer can make kicks from long-range and will be called on to tack on points from inside opposition territory when penalties arise.
Look for Cam Dolan to disrupt lineouts when he can, and to counterattack from any loose ball, as well as, from New York kicks that don’t find touch.
Rugby New York
Marty Veale has made three changes in the starters and another in the reserves. Kaleb Geiger gains his first MLR start at hooker, Ben Bonasso returns at blindside flanker and Conor McManus starts for the first time this season at scrumhalf. Connor Buckley returns to the matchday squad as a reserve.
Jack Heighton was a last-minute scratch with Andy Ellis moving to flyhalf and Sam Windsor to the reserves.
Dylan Fawsitt and Sam Windsor are achieving milestones, playing in their 50th MLR match should they enter as reserves, the third and fourth persons in the league to do so.
Look for Rugby New York to try and establish dominance in the scrum early, and win the breakdowns, which have led to many of their attacks. The team will also need to hold their own in the lineouts.
New York tries to move the ball out to the wide channels quickly and after penalties, kicks for attacking lineouts, and try to score from a maul. The team needs to get off to a fast start, as NOLA Gold has proven to be a dangerous opponent.
The match is an important one for New York in the tightly contested Conference. New England also plays Saturday at 8 pm ET away against the Western Conference leaders, Austin Gilgronis, while Rugby ATL travels to Virginia to play last-place Old Glory DC on Sunday at 7 pm ET.
If you are in the New York City area, there is an official watch party at Stout NYC Penn Station, 133 West 33rd Street (between 6th and 7th Ave) New York, NY between 7-10 pm ET.
In Albany, there is a Cap District Watch Party RNY vs NOLA at the Excelsior Pub on 54 Philip St.
Squads with Player Article Links & Match Preview
NOLA GOLD: 1 Matt Harmon 2 Pat O’Toole 3 Brian Nault 4 Malcolm May 5 Ignacio Dotti 6 Moni Tonga’uiha 7 Devin Short 8 Cam Dolan (C) 9 Devereaux Ferris 10 Robbie Coleman 11Ross Depperschmidt 12 Carl Meyer 13 Juan Cappiello 14 JP du Plessis 15 JP Eloff 16 George Sharpe 17 Kevin Sullivan 18 Dino Waldren 19 William Waguespack 20 Maciu Koroi 21 Damian Stevens 22 Nick Feakes 23 Harley Wheeler
Rugby New York: 1 Chance Wenglewski 2 Kaleb Geiger 3 Kalolo Tuiloma 4 Will Tucker 5 Nate Brakeley (C) 6 Ben Bonasso 7 Brendon O’Connor 8 Kara Pryor 9 Conor McManus 10 Andy Ellis 11 Ed Fidow 12 Jason Emery 13 Faasiu Fuatai 14 Andrew Coe 15 Troy Lockyear 16 Dylan Fawsitt 17 Nic Mayhew 18 Wilton Rebolo 19 Charlie Hewitt 20 Joe Basser 21 Connor Buckley 22 Sam Windsor 23 Quinn Ngawati
Rugby New York: Record 4-1
- Houston SaberCats 7-10 Rugby New York
- Rugby ATL 31-36 Rugby New York
- Dallas Jackals 5-41 Rugby New York
- Rugby New York 29-38 New England Free Jacks
- Rugby New York 26-23 San Diego Legion
- NOLA Gold vs Rugby New York (March 19)
- Rugby New York vs Toronto Arrows (March 27)
NOLA Gold: Record 2-3
- NOLA Gold 13-24 New England Free Jacks
- NOLA Gold 9-14 Rugby ATL
- NOLA Gold 23-24 Toronto Arrows
- Seattle Seawolves 24-25 NOLA Gold
- Dallas Jackals 26-32 NOLA Gold
- NOLA Gold vs Rugby New York (March 19)
- Old Glory vs NOLA Gold (March 26)
DJCoil Rugby Interviews
Dylan Fawsitt and Sam Windsor are on the matchday squad against NOLA Gold. When either enters the match, they will achieve a milestone, playing in their 50th MLR match. Dylan and Sam were interviewed on March 13 after the match against San Diego Legion.
DJCoil Rugby articles by Doug Coil are also available on Facebook. Other Social Media sites to follow or subscribe to include Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube for interviews.