NOLA Gold thrashes Toronto Arrows, 40-24
New Orleans, LA – NOLA Gold handily defeated the Toronto Arrows, 40-24, on Sunday at the Shrine on Airline. With six total tries for the Louisiana lads, NOLA looked like a well-oiled machine in this must-win fixture.
The scoring started early and maintained its incessant pace throughout the duration of the game. JP du Plessis opened the Gold’s account in the 6th minute with an invigorating try. The birthday boy sliced through five Arrow defenders with not so much difficulty as slicing a birthday cake to award NOLA its first points of the day.
A mere four minutes later, Eric Howard tacked on another try to widen the Gold’s lead. A Canada-on-Canada crime, the Alberta native finished an exciting sequence of play that left fans amazed and buoyant.
To start this sequence, Jarred Adams scooped up a loose ball from deep in NOLA territory and ran the majority of the pitch. The 255-pound human freight train then cleverly offloaded the ball to a streaking Luke Campbell, who brought the attack directly to Toronto’s doorstep. The scrum half then dished it to Howard, who easily brought it in for the try.
Now 14-0, the game threatened to get out of hand for the Arrows but Toronto demonstrated some resilience and tenacity to finish the first half. The men in blue added a sharp intercept try and penalty kick to send the two teams into halftime with a scoreline of 14-10.
End to end actions in the bayou! @nolagoldrugby goes into the half up 14-10
🎥@therugbynetwork | #NOLAvTOR | #MLR2023 pic.twitter.com/kje0XAPMZY
— Major League Rugby (@usmlr) April 30, 2023
When gameplay resumed, so did Toronto’s initiative. In the 43rd minute, an Arrow pierced through the Gold line to secure Toronto’s second try of the day. The scoreboard displayed 14-17 for a brief spell – that is, until Jordan Jackson-Hope amended NOLA’s lapse in pressure with a solo effort that resulted in another Gold try. The Australian shrewdly collected his own kick and planted the ball firmly under the posts for a seven-point try that catapulted the Gold back into the lead.
After this scoring exchange, NOLA flipped a switch. In a ten-minute stretch from 61’ to 71’, the Gold added three more tries courtesy of Matt Harmon, Harley Wheeler, and Maciu Koroi to stretch the lead to 40-17. This passage of play shows how devastating a synchronized Gold squad can be; in a flash, the Game was well out of reach for Toronto.
Toronto scored one more try late in the game to cut NOLA’s lead to sixteen, though it was a classic scenario of “too little, too late.” The Gold saw out the victory, 40-24.
Effective execution is the currency of success in the MLR, and NOLA paid its weight in Gold on Sunday. Every phase of the game was marked by gritty, selfless contributions from the top of the roster to the bottom. NOLA will look to recreate this effort next week in a high-stakes meeting with Rugby New York at the Ironworkers’ home field.
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