The Gold look to bounce back from last week’s 26-19 loss to San Diego at home tomorrow against the Houston Sabercats as the team makes its push toward the playoffs.
Head coach Nate Osborne and inside center Con Foley said a key focus in the week was cleaning up their handling errors and working on ball control after the Gold had 12 knock-ons in last week’s game.
“I think our unforced errors, so our handling needs to be a bit better. It’s really hot down here and the ball gets slick, but we need to be a little bit more focused in the way we want to try and play. If we can hold onto the ball, then it’s very hard to play with the fast pace that we play,” Osborne said.
“Last week we dropped a lot of ball, which we were very unhappy about, so being able to control the ball and hold onto possession. We know we’re a fantastic attacking team, so if we can hold onto the ball for multiple phases, our attack should hopefully look after itself,” Foley said.
In Week 8, the Gold beat the Sabercats 49-11 behind a hat-trick performance by Tristan Blewett, who finished with nine carries for 237 meters, three line breaks and an offload.
Houston enters the contest (2-10, 11 points) and is led in part by Sam Windsor (106 points) and Josua Vici, who has a team-high 640 meters carried and eight line breaks through five games this season.
“Houston, they’ve got some great attacking weapons – Kolinisau out the back, Vici playing 13. We know we have to stop them. If we can get the ball and hold onto it, hopefully we’ll come away with the chocolates,” Foley said.
With three games left in the season, the Gold (9-4, 51 points) are in second place in the Major League Rugby standings with the top four spots separated by six total points.
“It’s huge. I know we have three games left to go and a lot of the teams behind us play each other but a win this week really puts us in the playoffs and puts us in a good position to take one of those one or two seeds. We’re really focusing on taking that one seed and winning those next three games and propelling ourselves into the playoffs,” Osborne said.
“We’re one point behind San Diego at the moment, obviously a game behind, but it’s all pretty tight with the top six there, so if we drop one or two games, we’re out of the race, so we know these last three games are all very important,” Foley said.
NOLA faces Houston on Saturday, May 18 at 4:00 p.m. at Gold Stadium for their final home game.
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