Video: NOLA Gold opens Major League Rugby season Friday

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METAIRIE – Confidence was abundant earlier this week as NOLA Gold officials and players met the media in advance of Friday’s 7 p.m. season opener against the New England Free Jacks at the Gold Mine.

For head coach Kane Thompson, it was a first full offseason to help assemble a team to his liking, which meant two months back in his home of New Zealand not only to see family for the first time since the COVID-19 shutdown, but to find players to bring back to the states.

New players at key positions will appear throughout the lineup after a 2022 campaign in which the Gold accumulated just 25 points in the standings table and had the fewest tries in MLR.

Friday’s opener, which will feature a Mardi Gras theme, is the first of nine home games.

New Orleans competes in the Eastern Conference of MLR, and to get to the top, it will have to overtake teams like New England, which finished atop the East standings table last year and had a league-high 62 points.

Most other home games will be either at 2 or 5 p.m. After Friday, the Gold does not return home until March 12, when it meets reigning MLR champion New York.

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Lenny Vangilder


Lenny was involved in college athletics starting in the early 1980s, when he began working Tulane University sporting events while still attending Archbishop Rummel High School. He continued that relationship as a student at Loyola University, where he graduated in 1987. For the next 11 years, Vangilder worked in the sports information offices at Southwestern Louisiana (now UL-Lafayette) and Tulane;…

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