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NOLA Takes Season Series Against Houston With A 24-20 Victory

NOLA Gold Rugby welcomed the Houston Sabercats to New Orleans for the teams second match of the season. NOLA was able to take advantage of the Sabercats mistakes for the win. Houston will rue their mistakes as they had a chance to win at the end.

The Sabercats were first on the scoreboard. In a broken play, Sam Windsor broke through the Gold's defense for the try. Windsor looked to pass, but held on to it after everyone over ran their lines. The NOLA defense opened up after the fake pass and Windsor broke through for the try.

The match went into a lull for about 20 minutes after that try. Zack Stryffeler put NOLA's first points on the board with a close range try. Houston looked asleep at the wheel as NOLA went through pick and go phases before Holden Yungert found Stryffeler on the line for the try.

NOLA took a Sabercat past the horizontal on a tackle and gave the Sabercats a makeable penalty kick inside the 22. Sam Windsor was able to take the points on offer to give the Sabercats a 10-7 lead.

NOLA took the lead back after being given a penalty try. Taylor Howden chip kicked over the top, but Zach Pangelinan was able to chase the ball down. He was on top of the ball and didn't release the ball as he was in the end zone. Pangelinan was also given a yellow card for his actions.

Ratu Rinakama was able to take advantage of the Sabercats being down a man. Taylor Howden was able to strip the ball from the Houston ball carrier and Rinakama was their to clean up and get over for the try. Howden converted to put the Gold up 21-10.

Connor Murphy was able to turn the momentum in Houston's favor at the stroke of half time. Conor Mills broke through the NOLA defense and the Sabercats worked their way down the field. Murphy was able to get over for the try after the Gold went after the Sabercat dummy runner and left a space for Murphy to run through for the try.

Houston was lucky to only be down 21-17 at halftime. The Sabercats had numerous handling issues that would've lead to more NOLA points if it weren't for NOLA's own handling errors. NOLA had some lucky bounces and calls go their way to earn their halftime lead.

Hubert Buydens was handed a yellow card for repeated scrum infringements. After the referee advanced 10 meters for back talk after a penalty, Houston went for repeated scrums after Buydens kept bringing down the scrum. After Buydens was called for his third scrum penalty, this time for standing up in the scrum, the referee showed Buydens a yellow card.

Houston was not able to take advantage of the short scrum for NOLA. Jake Turnbull was called for bringing down the scrum. This allowed NOLA to get out of danger deep in their own territory. Zach Pangelinan was shown a second yellow for a high tackle. Pangelinan was sent off with a red card after that second yellow.

NOLA was able to extend their lead to 24-17 after that penalty. Taylor Howden took the points on offer and converted a penalty kick. Sam Windsor got those three points back for Houston after NOLA was called for obstructing the runner after the kick.

Taylor Howden attempted to add to the NOLA lead after another Sabercats scrum penalty. Houston was called for not driving straight in the scrum. Howden's penalty kick attempt was right and short of the sticks.

NOLA's defense held strong at the end of the match. Houston looked like they were driving for the win. They got deep into NOLA territory and started the pick and go phases but NOLA was able to force a knock on from Houston and Taylor Howden was able to find space with a clearance kick.

Houston will be disappointed. They had numerous chances to score but they were thrown away by handling errors. Discipline will need to be addressed as Pangelinan was sent off with a red card. Houston did better when their runners were running onto the pass. They slowed down and committed more errors when they played flat.

NOLA will be happy, especially after a close loss last week. They take the season series against Houston 2-1-1, including two preseason matches. They had handling errors of their own that they'll need to work on. They'll also need to work on their scrum as Houston caused them numerous issues.

Houston is back next Saturday, May 26th as they host the Utah Warriors. NOLA gets an extra day of rest as they look for revenge against the Seawolves. They head to Seattle on Sunday, May 27th.

Man of the Match
Houston: Connor Murphy
NOLA: Matt Hughston


Tries: Sam Windsor (4), Connor Murphy (40)

Cons: Sam Windsor 2/2

Pens: Sam Windsor 2/2 (32, 62)

Yellow Card: Zach Pangelinan 33 (not releasing in end zone)

Red Card: Zach Pangelinan 54 (2nd yellow, high tackle)


Tries: Zack Stryffeler (26), Penalty Try (33), Ratu Rinakama (38)

Cons: Taylor Howden 2/2

Pens: Taylor Howden 1/2 (55, 72 (missed))

Yellow Card: Hubert Buydens 50 (scrum infringements)

~Josh Fredlund