NOLA Gold opens the 2023 Major League Rugby season against last year’s Eastern Conference regular-season first-place team, the New England Free Jacks. Kickoff is at 8 pm ET (7 pm Local) on February 17 at The Gold Mine in New Orleans. The match is available on Yurview, NBCSB, and The Rugby Network, the latter, internationally.
NOLA Gold has bolstered its roster during the off-season and is predicted to make the playoffs this year.
This year’s playoff format will be the same as last year with the second-place team in the Eastern Conference hosting the third-place team with the winner playing to the Conference title. The playoff Conference champions will then play for the MLR Shield.
Playing 16 matches in 18 weeks is challenging enough, but both teams face the challenge of facing a potential playoff team in the first week of the season.
NOLA Gold played one preseason match away in Dallas coming away with a 45-19 win.
Head Coach Kane Thompson is faced with deciding on a matchday roster, which may include 10 non-U.S. or Canadian players. The team includes six new players in the starting XV: Jarred Adams, Liam Hallam-Eames, Tom Florence, Rodney Iona, Jordan Jackson-Hope, and Jordan Trainor. Two new players are in the reserves: Luke Campbell and Cael Hodfson.
New England Free Jacks
The Free Jacks also played one preseason match away against the Houston SaberCats, losing 34-21.
Head Coach Scott Mathie will need a matchday roster, which may include 12 non-U.S. or Canadian players. The team has more foreign players than the 12 spots, so decisions needed to be made. It also has the second-largest number of Canadian players in MLR with some U.S. players as well, with both counting as domestic players.
The starting XV includes seven new players: Cole Keith, Semisi Paea, Sam Fischli, Mitch Jacobsen, Jason Potroz, Spencer Jones, and Taniela Filimore. Additionally, there are two new players in the reserves: Andrew Quattrin and Reece MacDonald.
Squads With Player Article Links
NOLA Gold: 1 Kevin Sullivan 2 Pat O’Toole 3 Jarred Adams 4 Billy Stewart 5 Liam Hallam-Eames 6 Tesimoni Tonga’uiha 7 Tom Florence 8 Cam Dolan (C) 9 Damian Stevens 10 Rodney Iona 11 Jack Webster 12 Jordan Jackson-Hope 13 JP du Plessis 14 Harley Wheeler 15 Jordan Trainor 16 Eric Howard 17 Matt Harmon18 Dino Waldren 19 Malcolm May 20 Maciu Koroi 21 Luke Campbell 22 Ross Depperschmidt 23 Cael Hodgson
New England Free Jacks: 1 Kyle Ciquera 2 Mills Sanerivi 3 Cole Keith 4 Josh Larsen (C) 5 Semisi Paea 6 Sam Fischli 7 Mitch Jacobson 8 Wian Conradie 9 John Poland 10 Jayson Potroz 11 Paula Balekana 12 Spencer Jones 13 Wayne van der Bank14 Taniela Filimone 15 Mitch Wilson 16 Andrew Quattrin 17 Foster DeWitt 18 Tevita Sole 19 Conor Keys 20 Joe Johnston 21 Holden Yungert 22 Zach Bastres 23 Reece MacDonald