Story by: Brian Wollitz, The Advocate | @brian_wollitz
It only took the NOLA Gold a minute to get the scoring started on Saturday, and they didn’t let up in their 26-14 win over Austin Elite Rugby.
Captain Eric Howard powered his way in from 20 meters in the first minute after taking a quick pass from Taylor Howden and finding a gap in the Austin defense.
“We started exactly how we wanted to start. We played our game plan perfectly and we did the simple things really, really well,” Howard said.
NOLA extended its lead to 12-0 in the 30th minute after Nick Feakes offloaded to Ignacio Dotti for the score.
Just before the half, however, Dominique Bailey found a hole in the NOLA defense and scored on a 50-meter run that cut the NOLA lead to 12-7 at the break.
After halftime, the Gold came out with two quick scores, first earning a penalty try in the 43rd minute, giving them the 19-7 lead.
A score in the 46th minute from Tulane product Billy Stewart extended their lead to 26-7 after he took a quick ball, broke a tackle and got in for a try.
“I think that’s exactly what we needed. We let them in at the end of the first half, so we said, ‘Foot on their throat and let’s get on the front foot right away.’ That’s exactly what we did. We got the momentum and then we scored another try. We punched them in the mouth essentially right away,” Howard said.
With the win, NOLA (9-3, 50 points) earned five points, including a bonus point for scoring four tries and reclaimed the top spot in the Major League Rugby standings.
The Gold are followed by the San Diego Legion (9-2-1, 46 points), the Seattle Seawolves (8-4, 41 points) and Rugby United New York (8-3, 38 points).
NOLA returns home next Saturday, May 11 against San Diego at 2 p.m. at Gold Stadium.
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