Sunday, April 22, 2018

NOLA Gold Prevail Over Houston SaberCats

The inaugural match in Major League Rugby also delivered the biggest surprise as the NOLA Gold beat the Houston SaberCats 35-26. Many thought that the SaberCats would be one of the teams to beat given that they had some of the more high-profile signings heading into the year and, according to the SaberCats, had played over a dozen pre-season matches. In the end it's what counts during the season the Gold put together a better all-around performance and came away with the win. It was also third time's the charm for the Gold as they lost to Houston twice in the pre-season.

One of the main storylines in the match was the high penalty count from both sides. NOLA did a better job of reacting and it soon led to points. The first points in the match didn't come for nearly a quarter of the match when Osea Kolinisau, one of the bigger signings for Houston, scored to put the SaberCats up 5-0. His Fijian teammate Josh Vici would get in on the action just a few minutes later as the SaberCats would go up 12-3. JP Eloff had a penalty in between the tries.

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Still, NOLA worked their way back into the match and after a penalty on the SaberCats scrum Sebastian Kalm crashed over for the score and to cut the lead to two. That's how it would stand at halftime.

In the second half Nikola Bursic made it two Chilean scorers for the Gold as they took the lead. Eloff would add to it with a penalty. It wasn't all good for NOLA as they had a man sent to the bin. Still, they only extended their lead with a nice chip from Holden Yungert found Matt Hughston for a try.

Jake Turnbull would end the drought for the SaberCats and to get them back into it with ten minutes to go. However, soon after Eloff would score a try of his own to increase the lead for the Gold at 29-19. Houston would make it close with another Vici try. That made it a three point match at 29-26 with a handful of minutes to go but an Eloff conversion with a couple of minutes to go would seal the match.

For NOLA they made a big statement with the win but have to take a week off. For Houston they get right back at it next week against Austin.


Penalties: Eloff (3)
Conversions: Eloff (3)
Tries: Kalm, Bursic, Hughston, Eloff

Houston SaberCats

Conversions: Windsor (4)
Tries: Kolinisau, Vici (2), Turnbull

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