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NOLA GOLD Fall in Week Three to Defending Champs

March 18, 2024 - Major League Rugby (MLR)
NOLA Gold News Release

NOLA GOLD up high
NOLA GOLD up high
(NOLA Gold)

Quincy, MA - NOLA GOLD lost its first game of the season against defending-champion New England Free Jacks in week 3 of the 2024 MLR season, 27-21. It was a physical test that offered insights into both team's long-term prospects.

NOLA started the fixture at a fast pace that ultimately proved unsustainable. Taniela Filimone opened the scoring in the 13th minute with a spectacular try in which he plucked the ball out of the air from a long-range, cross-field Rodney Iona boot. A dazzling display of athletics and acrobatics, this try gave the GOLD a much-needed spark after a grinding, physical opening to the game.

Jordan Jackson-Hope built on this early lead in the 22nd minute with an impressive solo run. Luke Campbell wisely found the crafty center with a feed off the back of a lineout deep in opposition territory. Jackson-Hope did the rest, weaving through multiple defenders en route to a huge try that asserted NOLA's intent to win.

The Free Jacks then reminded everyone as to why they're the defending champions. They clawed their way back to 14-7 with a try of their own before halftime. A series of turnovers and open-field exchanges saw fast-paced, scoreless rugby to close the half at 14-7.

After the break, New England managed to reclaim control of the game with a combination of penalty kicks and a try that granted them the lead, 20-14. This was no product of any noticeable breakdowns in NOLA's structure or drive; rather, New England managed to improve their own attacking organization and capitalize on key opportunities. One such opportunity was a deep box kick into NOLA territory that took an unfortunate bounce and led to a try for New English speedster Reece Macdonald.

From there, the Free Jacks scored once more in the final 10 minutes to take complete control of the game. In bonus time, though, the GOLD mustered one final open-field breakaway to bring the scoreline back to 21-27, but it was too little too late.

Overall, this was a physical battle between two Eastern Conference heavyweights. Their next meeting will certainly pose playoff implications, and NOLA will look to get revenge. Up next on the docket for NOLA is an away fixture against the Dallas Jackals on March 23rd.

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NOLA GOLD up high
NOLA GOLD up high


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Major League Rugby Stories from March 18, 2024

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