Photo;: Craig Boudreaux Photo
NOLA Gold won its first match of the season beating Rugby New York 31-5 on Sunday, March 12. The match replay may be viewed on The Rugby Network.
The MLR Eastern Conference just got tighter with Rugby New York still in first place on point differential over Rugby ATL and New England Free Jacks, each with 10 points. NOLA Gold moved into fifth place with 5 points, with a point differential advantage over Toronto, while Old Glory is in fourth with 7 points.
New week, NOLA Gold hosts the Utah Warriors at the Gold Mine on Saturday, March 18, while New York hosts the Free Jacks on Sunday, March 19.
It was NOLA Gold’s day as the team gained its first victory of the season over Rugby New York. The Eastern Conference got tighter with only 5 points separating first place Rugby New York from the sixth place Toronto Arrows.
The first half was a punishing one for both teams, as NOLA Gold’s Jarred Adams exited for an HIA and Harley Wheeler with a left leg injury. Moni Tonga’uhia also had a foot issue but stayed on through the break. New York lost Nic Mayhew early, as well as Kara Pryor before the break.
NOLA Gold tried to take advantage of a yellow card to Brendon O’Connor, but Dylan Fawsitt disrupted a pass while bound in a Gold maul with Fasi Fuatai clearing directly out. NOLA Gold followed with a lineout 6 meters from in-goal and Rodney Iona found a gap for a try, which he then converted to lead 7-0.
That was the extent of the scoring before the break.
NOLA Gold used a huge hit on Tei Walden for Rodney Iona to motor over 50 meters for a try and conversion to push the lead to 14-0 a minute into the half. A few minutes later, a quick tap penalty by Luke Campbell added another try, with Iona adding the extras, 21-0.
A tackle by Tom Florence on Fasi Fuatai led to a turnover with Jordan Jackson-Hope offloading to Jordan Trainor, who sped down the left wide channel and grounded to the left of the posts to secure a bonus point. Iona again successfully converted to lead 28-0 after 53 minutes.
The Ironworkers would score their only try of the day as Fasi Fuatai grounded in the left corner to cut the lead to 28-5.
New York got close again, but Hamish Dalzell was held up in goal, resulting in an Iona kick from in-goal.
In the 73rd minute, NOLA Gold elected to pick at goal as a time management strategy, with Iona slotting the kick, 31-5, and he would bounce another kick off the posts four minutes later.
NOLA Gold closed out the match, winning 31-5 and gaining their first win over Rugby New York.
Rodney Iona was the Player of the Match, and Pat O’Toole joined the 50 appearance club on the day.
The athletic trainers on both sides will have a busy day from this physical match. It is hoped that the injuries sustained are not serious, but next week there will likely be a few matchday changes as a result.
Pat O’Toole of @nolagoldrugby becomes the 32nd player in MLR history to achieve 50 caps.
To date, he has scored 15 tries, made 213 ball carries, has 1,627 meters run, made 429 tackles, and 771 ruck arrivals in his MLR career.
— Major League Rugby (@usmlr) March 12, 2023
Squads With Player Profile Article Links & Match Preview
NOLA Gold: 1 Jarred Adams 2 Pat O’Toole 3 Sean Paranhi 4 Liam Hallam-Eames 5 Cam Dolan (C) 6 Malcolm May 7 Tesimoni Tonga’uiha 8 Tom Florence 9 Luke Campbell 10 Rodney Iona 11 Dougie Fife 12 Jordan Jackson-Hope 13 JP Duplessis 14 Harley Wheeler 15 Jordan Trainor 16 Eric Howard 17 Kevin Sullivan 18 Dino Waldren 19 Billy Stewart 20 Maciu Koroi 21Devin Short 22 Damian Stevens 23 Ross Depperschmidt
Rugby New York Ironworkers: 1 Chance Wenglewski 2 Dylan Fawsitt 3 Nic Mayhew 4 Nate Brakeley (C) 5 Hamish Dalzell 6 Brad Tucker 7 Brendon O’Connor 8 Kara Pryor 9 Connor Buckley 10 Sam Windsor 11 Ed Fidow 12 Jason Emery 13 Teihorangi Walden 14 Fa’asiu Fuatai 15 Andrew Coe 16 Kaleb Geiger 17 Tevita Langi 18 Sam Davies 19 Charlie Hewitt 20 Pago Haini 21 Eamonn Matthews 22 Quinn Ngawati 23 John Powers