Gold dominate Warriors to claim second straight win


The NOLA Gold backed up their impressive win over New York with a dominant 37-14 victory over the Utah Warriors at The Gold Mine on Saturday afternoon. Six different players scored tries for the home side as their high tempo attack gave fits to the visiting defense.

From the start it was the home side who took the initiative. After a series of phases, Rodney Iona turned down a shot at goal in favor of an attacking lineout. The decision paid off. Slick hands from Iona and Dougie Fife put Jack Webster in space, and the winger stepped back inside to touch down in the corner.

Jordan Jackson-Hope broke through to create an overlap out wide but a handling error let Utah off the hook. It was only temporary. Luke Campbell attacked the short side of a ruck and Iona stabbed a grubber through off his left foot. Cael Hodgson won the race to the ball just before it hit the dead-ball line, and the Gold were two scores up heading into the hydration break.

On the other side Iona went through more phases but settled for three points via Iona. Utah finally got some front-foot ball when Joel Hodgson slipped through, but Iona was there to make a try-saving tackle on Caleb Makene and force a knock-on.

The Warriors regained possession and soon got an attacking scrum in the middle of the pitch. Paul Mullen got the better of Jarred Adams and won a penalty. Utah opted for a tap play and Paul Lasike blasted into heavy traffic and crossed the line, but Billy Stewart wedged himself under the ball and it was held up.

Two more tries came to the Gold before halftime. Jackson-Hope and Adams delivered to Pat O’Toole. Bailey Wilson was there but O’Toole barged through the Utah captain’s tackle attempt and away from the outstretched arms of the cover. Next it was straight hands down the line to Hodgson on the left side, who found Campbell in support on his inside for the bonus point try. Iona’s first successful conversion of the day made it 25-nil to the home at at the break.

Utah finally got on the board in the second half but it took some effort after some sloppy ball handling. Eventually Joel Hodgson connected with Mika Kruse on a wrap-around and the winger flung a back-handed offload to a wide open Lance Williams for the finish. Hodgson expertly curled his kick through the uprights from a tough angle.

Tuvere Vugakoto was hardly on the pitch when he was singled out for leading with the forearm into Campbell. The TMO decided that the act was worthy of a red card, though the replay suggests a yellow may have been sufficient. A judiciary will decide during the week.

Kruse inspired a second scoring opportunity for Utah. His kick ahead was regathered by Makene, who in turn offloaded to Joe Mano. The winger lost the ball in contact while falling over the line, however, and the chance went begging.

Instead Malcolm May barged over from close range for another NOLA try in a frantic ending to the match. Kruse fired back with a consolation effort, but the final say would go to the Gold. After Zion Going was shown yellow for a similar offense to Vugakoto, JP du Plessis broke free for a try with Reece Botha picking up his first Major League Rugby conversion to wrap up the scoring.

Both teams are back in action next Saturday. The Gold are on the road to face Eastern Conference rivals Old Glory DC, while the Warriors head home to take on the Toronto Arrows.



Tries (6) – J. Webster (7′), C. Hodgson (19′), P. O’Toole (36′), L. Campbell (39′), M. May (71′), J. du Plessis (79′)
Cons (2) – R. Iona 1/5 (40′), R. Botha 1/1 (80′)
Pens (1) – R. Iona 1/1 (25′)

Tries (2) – L. Williams (50′), M. Kruse (74′)
Cons (2) – J. Hodgson 1/1 (51′), No kick (74′)
YC (1) – Z. Going (77′)
RC (1) – T. Vugakoto (53′)



1 Jarred Adams (17 Kevin Sullivan 56′), 2 Pat O’Toole (16 Eric Howard 48′-55′, 60′), 3 Sean Paranihi (18 Dino Waldren 56′), 4 Cam Dolan (capt.) (19 William Waguespack 69′), 5 Billy Stewart, 6 Malcolm May, 7 Devin Short (20 Moni Tonga’uiha 18′), 8 Tom Florence, 9 Luke Campbell (21 Damian Stevens 69′), 10 Rodney Iona (22 Reece Botha 72′), 11 Cael Hodgson, 12 Jordan Jackson-Hope (23 Aaron Matthews 72′), 13 JP du Plessis, 14 Jack Webster, 15 Dougie Fife

1 Franco van den Berg (17 Olive Kilifi 51′), 2 Henry Bell (16 Tuvere Vugakoto 51′ {2 Henry Bell 73′}), 3 Paul Mullen (18 Angus MacLellan HT), 4 Saia Uhila (20 Onehunga Havili 51′), 5 Jamie Lane, 6 Bailey Wilson (capt.) (19 Jurie van Vuuren 51′), 7 Lance Williams (2 Henry Bell 54′-73′), 8 Thomas Tu’avao, 9 Connor McLeod (21 Zion Going 60′), 10 Joel Hodgson, 11 Joe Mano, 12 Paul Lasike (22 Tomasi Tonga 75′), 13 Calvin Whiting (23 Logan Tago 51′), 14 Mika Kruse, 15 Caleb Makene



Referee: Scott Green (USA)
Assistants: Allen Alongi (USA) & Rob Halcomb (USA)
TMO: Luke Rogan (USA)

Gold dominate Warriors to claim second straight win .

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