NOLA Gold And The Houston SaberCats Play To A 32-32 Draw



The Houston SaberCats headed to New Orleans for a rematch from a couple weeks ago. NOLA was looking to get back on track after a few games of slow play. Houston and NOLA played a fantastic match that we will look forward to more of.

There was a scary situation a few minutes into the match. Houston kicked down field to gain territory and as NOLA was bringing the ball up field, Kyle Sumsion went in to make a tackle and got knocked out. Earful of Dirt wishes Kyle a speedy recovery.

Houston's scrum was a powerful weapon. They forced two early scrum penalties after putting pressure on NOLA's scrum. Houston got on the board after the second penalty. Zach Pangelinan converted the penalty kick to put Houston in front 3-0.

Quickly after getting the ball back, the SaberCats were back on the board. Houston made a clearance kick and NOLA knocked on; Robert Meeson was right there to pick up the ball and was off and running towards the try line. NOLA was able to chase him down, but Josua Vici was right there with him. Vici was stopped short, but Pago Haini was right there to pick and go for the try.

NOLA's mistakes led to Houston's next try. After a penalty for not releasing, Taylor Howden got NOLA down deep for the lineout. After going wide from the lineout, a pass missed some hands and Malacchi Esdale was there to clean it up and run 80 meters for the try.

Howden decided to take a chance and put some points on the board for NOLA. Howden had a penalty kick attempt from about 30 meters and put it through the uprights to get the score gap down to 10 points.

Once again, NOLA takes the opportunity for points. After a nice line break from Cam Falcon, Houston was dinged for being off feet. Howden went for posts and converted to bring the game back to a converted try difference.

JP Eloff able to shake off a knock that caused him to miss the Glendale match and score a try for NOLA. After a not straight line out throw, NOLA was able to work their way down the field. NOLA went back and forth across the pitch before going wide to Eloff for the try.

Both teams had a great half, NOLA started shaky but brought it back by halftime. This is what we want to see from Major League Rugby. Both teams going back and forth. There's going to be mistakes, but we don't want to see blowouts.

Holden Yungert got the scoring started quick. After a knock on from Josua Vici, NOLA was able to get the ball out quick and Yungert found a gap for the score. The SaberCats were able to answer right back. After getting the ball back from a clearance kick, Sam Windsor had a nice line break and offloaded to Conor Mills for the try.

Houston had great try all the way from Fiji. After a kick from Sam Windsor, Osea Kolinisau was able to gather the ball after NOLA couldn't and offloaded to Josua Vici for the try.

Pangelinan just can't seem to connect on his kicks. After being on point in the first couple of Houston preseason matches, he's been off the last few. He missed a number of kicks against NOLA.

Conor Mills added a second try. Mills with the intercept of Taylor Howden and was able to walk in for the SaberCats try. Tim Maupin with his Conor Mills impression. Maupin made a great intercept and he walked in for the NOLA try.

Sebastian Kalm continued his workhorse efforts. After a scrum, NOLA worked the ball wide, Tim Maupin made a line break and offloaded to Kalm who ran about 50 meters for the try.

Sam Windsor looked put the SaberCats back on top with a long penalty kick from about 49 meters out. But his kicked was wide. Windsor looked to make up for it just a few minutes later. He was right in front of the posts about 30 meters out. But his kick was just wide again.

This was a great match between both squads. NOLA made some strides from their previous matches. Houston was their same impressive side but they have to be concerned about their late match efforts. Houston always seems to find their way on top, but they let off the gas and the opposition works their way back into the match. The standard has been set and we hope to see more similar matches.

NOLA is back next week as they host Austin Elite. Houston has two weeks off before they head west to San Diego for their final preseason match.

Man of the Match
Houston: Conor Mills
NOLA: Tim Maupin

Scoring
Houston

Tries Pago Haini (10), Malacchi Esdale (20), Conor Mills 2 (45, 60), Josua Vici (52)

Cons Zach Pangelinan 1/4, Sam Windsor 1/1

Pens Pangelinan 1/2 (7, 58), Windsor 0/2 (76, 78)

NOLA Gold

Tries JP Eloff (35), Holden Yungert (43), Tim Maupin (64), Sebastian Kalm (68)

Cons Taylor Howden 3/4

Pens Howden 2/2 (22, 28)

~Josh Fredlund