The Gold are feeling rested and ready after their bye week, as they return key players to their squad ahead of their road game against Houston.
New Orleans heads into the Week 8 match up (4-1), seated atop the Major League Rugby standings with 21 points.
The eighth-place SaberCats (1-4), however, look to snap their four-game losing streak against the Gold on their home pitch at Constellation Field on Saturday, March 16 at 7:00 p.m.
For Gold coach Nate Osborne, he said the squad is excited to take the field again after resting for their second bye week of the season, following their 21-19 road win against Utah on March 2.
He’s also looking forward to the returning key players they’ve missed in the previous weeks.
“We are also excited to have our internationals, Cam Dolan, Kyle Baillie, Ignacio Dotti and Hubert Buydens back healthy and ready to fire,” Osborne said.
Tim Maupin is back from injury and returns to the starting line up and will see his first action since week one, when the American-winger scored in the Gold’s 36-31 win over the Toronto Arrows.
The Gold also gets a healthy Nikola Bursic back, with the Chilean forward making the roster as a reserve in his first appearance of the season.
“We have had some players step up while they have been gone,” Osborne said. “It’s truly a credit to the squad as a whole that we haven’t missed a beat.”
While the SaberCats haven’t won since their 21-20 win over Austin in week one, a few players present some challenges for the Gold.
Houston fly half Sam Windsor leads the MLR with 14 penalty goals and sits in fourth-place with 53 total points. The Gold will also look to contain SaberCats winger Josua Vici, who leads his team with 223 ball carry meters, including seven tackle breaks and a try.
“Houston is a lot better team then their record shows. We will have to be on our game and really execute our game plan to get another win on the road,” Osborne said. “We are confident we can do that and keep this train rolling and stay at the top of the MLR standings.”
The Gold will lean on vice-captain, JP Eloff who sits in fifth-place in the MLR with 48 total points and a team-leading 520 ball carry meters and 11 tackle breaks.
Tristan Blewett also moves inside to center and Nick Feakes gets another start on the wing, with both backs tied for a team-leading three tries on the season.
Don’t miss out on the official NOLA Gold Watch Party party at Finn McCool’s Irish Pub starting at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday evening.
The bar is located at: 3701 Banks St., New Orleans, LA 70119.
If you can’t make it, be sure to tune in for live coverage of the game on: ESPN+ and CST. Kick off is set for 7:00 p.m. (CT).
Eric Howard (C)
JP Eloff (C)
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