NEW ORLEANS — NOLA Gold Rugby climbed back to .500 with a crucial win against Old Glory DC on Saturday, March 25th.
It was a nail-biter through and through, with only 3 points separating the sides after the final whistle. The Gold took home the win, 20-17.
Scoring was scarcer in this one than recent weeks. That’s a testament to excellent defensive play from both sides; repeatedly, offensive fronts would be turned away near each side’s tryline with no points to show for the possession. DC may have recognized this would be a theme for the day early in the match, as they chose to attempt penalty kicks on numerous offensive possessions.
After converting two within the first fifteen minutes, Old Glory took a 6-0 lead; however, the Gold promptly responded with a world-class, show-stopping, field-length try from JP Du Plessis. Though Du Plessis will have a try added to his season stat sheet, credit must also be given to Rodney Iona and Cael Hodgson, both of whom were integral to the construction of the play. Iona broke the initial DC line of defense like a flash of lightning.
Then, with the field vision of a hungry hawk, he flipped the ball to the left wing, where Hodgson and Du Plessis eagerly ran on to complete the scoring play. DC kicked twice more and NOLA once more to send the teams into halftime at 12-10 in DC’s favor.
The second half was gritty. Old Glory tacked on a try in the 60th minute to make the scoreline read 17-10, but those numbers would quickly change. In the 64th minute, the Gold put together a clever sequence of play to score a try of their own. Deep in DC territory, Rodney Iona kicked a cross-field pass to Ross Depperschmidt in a display of absolute technical proficiency.
After a brief kerfuffle just outside of the DC 5-meter line, the ball found its way to Cam Dolan, who delivered a bruising drive to the DC doorstep. He then blindly flipped the ball behind his back to a streaking Jordan Trainor who took the ball into the tryzone for the equalizing score. The remainder of the game was tightly fought by both sides, but a late Iona penalty kick gave the lift the Gold needed to claim victory. It was an excellent game across the board.
Now at 3-3, the Gold are suddenly by themselves in 2nd place in the Eastern Conference. They’ll need to muster all of their chutzpah and tactical gumption to find a win against the league-leading Seattle Seawolves next Sunday, April 2nd, at the Shrine on Airline.