Seawolves Drown in the Swamp
NOLA Gold Beats the defending MLR champions 41-31
The Gold scored in multiple phases of play and downed the defending Major League
Rugby champions Seattle Seawolves, 41-31 on Sunday at Gold Stadium.
For head coach Nate Osborne, the win was an all-around team effort as players were injected
into the starting lineup due to recent injuries, taking on bigger roles.
“It’s massive for us – having talked about guys out and being the next man up. We talk about it
a lot – about being a squad, not a team. We know it’s going to rely on the 32 or 33 guys that are
in our squad to win a championship,” said Osborne. “At any given moment it might be your
chance to get in there and shine and I thought the guys that stepped in today did a great job.”
Nick Feakes stepped in at fly-half for injured starter Scott Gale and commanded a back line that
scored three tries on the day.
“It’s amazing. That’s one things we pride ourselves on,” said winger, Tristan Blewett. “No
matter who comes in, who goes out, I think everyone knows they need to step up and we back
our boys to do it.”
“I think the back line has been outstanding the last three weeks. The crisp passing, the
understanding with each other and the support play they run, compared to other teams in the
league is second to none,” said Osborne. “We work a lot of that at training. We spend a lot of
time together, so they start to understand how each other play and that really plays into it.”
After going up by 27-10 in the 47th minute from a Taylor Howden three-meter try, the Gold
surrendered two unanswered scores to Seattle in the 59th and 64th minutes which tightened the
game to 27-24.
A few phases later, the Gold got inside Seattle’s five-meter line and worked a number of slow
balls to their forward pack.
NOLA eventually swung it wide to Taylor Howden, who found Blewett on the wing for a score in
the 69th minute, putting them up 34-24.
The Gold piled on another score in the 73rd minute after JP Eloff broke the Seawolves gain line
for a big run covering half the field.
Eloff offloaded to Con Foley, who then found JoJo Tikoisuva, finishing off the try, putting the
Gold up 41-24 with just minutes left.
“If we have a negative thing come against us, we need to turn that into a positive and the last
three weeks we’ve done really well at that and bounced back really quickly against good
teams,” said Osborne.
“You can’t stop with us. I think even when we’re tired we surprise ourselves with how far we
can push ourselves and I think that’s just amazing,” said Blewett. “We really need that. It brings
up the energy and it definitely pushes us through until the end.”
Forward Ignacio “Nacho” Dotti was also back with the Gold after playing for Uruguay in the
Americas Rugby Championship.
After battling on Seattle’s try-line for a flurry of forward punches, Dotti scored a one-meter try
in the 32 nd minute.
“Nacho’s great. He’s like our big enforcer in the middle. Him and Kane Thompson held the
middle really well today,” said Osborne. “I think Seattle came here with the idea that they were
going to punch us through the middle and try and bring us in, to play wide. I think those guys
got some really dominant tackles and slowed down their ball which allowed us to recycle our
defense and get up and tackle.”
As the team heads into the last week of their home stand before their bye week, they get
additional key players back from the Americas Rugby Championship like captain and hooker,
Eric Howard (Canada), flanker Kyle Baillie (Canada) and No. 8 Cam Dolan (USA).
“I think it puts some pressure on those guys as well. They’re international rugby players, they’re
great rugby players. They’re great team guys,” said Osborne. “But also, when they sit and watch
this and see what these young guys have done these past few weeks, they can start to feel a
little bit of pressure for them, which makes them work a lot harder and do a lot more so they
can get to the standard that these guys are playing at right now.”
The Gold (3-0) end their home stand next Saturday, Feb. 16 at 3 p.m. (ET) against Rugby United
New York (1-1) at Gold Stadium in Marrero, La.
For Blewett and his team that sits atop the Major League Rugby standings after three weeks,
they couldn’t be more excited for the moment.
“In the changing room, we had songs playing, guys singing, opening beers. It’s amazing, definitely,” said Blewett.
For tickets to the game against RUNY, click here
Game write up by Brian Wollitz
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