NOLA Gold wins with second-half surge against the Toronto Arrows

Namibian player Damian Stevens in the Rugby World Cup 2015 Pool C match against Argentina
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For the first 54 minutes of the game, it looked like the NOLA Gold was the second-best team on the field. However, the Gold was able to create offence in the last 20 minutes of the game and it was enough for them to take the 22-14 win over the Toronto Arrows.

NOLA Gold wins against the Toronto Arrows thanks to a second-half surge

Three keys to the game

NOLA Gold’s defence was excellent

Overall, the NOLA Gold defence stepped up when needed most. This was particularly true in the second half.

This was probably the biggest play New Orleans made against Toronto. Two minutes later the Gold made it difficult for the Arrows to score. Then in the 76-minute, the Gold would get their final try of the game and secure the win against the Arrows. This was the theme of the second half as the Arrows did not score a point in the second half. The only time the Arrows threatened the Gold was when Tayler Adams had an unsuccessful penalty kick in the 54-minute.

Early in the game, the Gold made a lot of mistakes. For example, they made five errors in the first twelve minutes of the game. At the same time, they kept themselves in the game by only allowing the Arrows 14 points at the end of the first half.

NOLA Gold had a positive start to the second half

It took a while for the NOLA Gold to take the lead. However, in the 57-minute, the Gold finally found a breakthrough when USA Eagles player Cam Dolan broke the Arrows defence in the maul following the lineout to score the first try. This try was what was needed for the Gold to get back into the game.

Then in the 62-minute, Argentinian, Julián Domínguez Widmer scored his first try of the game. The conversion was not converted, but it should have served as a warning sign to the Arrows players. At that time Toronto was only leading 12-14 in Louisiana. It was a team try, with some smart passing from New Orleans. However, it was Widmer who was able to find a way to score the try. This positive start in the second half gave the Gold some life in the game to possibly win it in Louisiana. Furthermore, Damian Stevens (pictured above) missed a penalty to put New Orleans ahead in the game. This was a sign for things to come for the Gold.

Tayler Adams Yellow Card

In the 68-minute, Arrows player Tayler Adams got a yellow card and could not play in the game for 10 minutes. As a result, the Arrows would be a man down for almost the rest of the game. Stevens would not make the same mistake and convert the penalty in the 69-minute. This was because of the yellow card Tayler Adams received in the 68-minute. As a result, the Gold took their first-ever lead with a slim one-point lead. It also changed the outcome of the game as the Arrows were down by one man. This was until the 77-minute when Hanno Dirksen received a yellow card.

In the 76-minute, the Gold was able to close the game with Widmer scoring his second try of the game. Now, there was a lot of controversy with their last try of the game. It looked like an infringement and the try should not have been awarded as Lockie Kratz ran in front of Widmer, preventing an Arrows player from making a tackle. However, the referee did not see it and the try was awarded and the conversion was made for the Gold to win the game 14-22.

Overview of the Toronto Arrows-NOLA Gold Game

The Arrows missed an opportunity to create a cushion for themselves in the Eastern Conference. It is unfortunate that Adams got a yellow card in the 68-minute. They could have used him late in the game and that might have changed the result. The best player for the Arrows was once again Manuel Montero (continuing his momentum against Rugby United New York), who scored the only two tries for the Arrows.

The credit though goes to the NOLA Gold. They were already in momentum when Adams got the yellow card. They continued that momentum and took over the game within that time period that Adams was not playing in the game.

The Gold is currently second in the Eastern Conference. They are currently tied for first in the East with Rugby United New York but have one less win than New York City. Toronto is currently third in the Eastern Conference. They have the same number of points as the New England Free Jacks and Rugby ATL.

The Arrows have a higher points differential than both Atlanta and New England. Unfortunately, for Toronto, both New England and Atlanta have one game in hand. Also, Old Glory D.C. who are currently last in the Eastern Conference has also played one less game than Toronto. If Washington D.C., wins their next game they would leapfrog the Arrows in the East.

Upcoming games for both New Orleans and Toronto

The Gold will remain at their home in The Gold Mine. On May 8, they will play the Houston SaberCats at 4:00 p.m. ET. Viewers can watch the game on The Rugby Network, CST, and AT&T SportsNet.

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The Arrows will play at Life University in Marietta, Georgia at 7:00 p.m. ET also on May 8. It is important to note that even though Life University is home to Rugby ATL, it will count as an Arrows home game. This is because for the 2021 MLR season the Arrows have played all their home games in Georgia because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

May 8 for Toronto and Atlanta also represents a start of an annual rivalry cup between the two teams. According to Joshua Fredlund of Earful of Dirt, it will be called the “Fire and Ice Cup.” The cup can only be won in the home stadium of the previous year’s winner. This is great news for both clubs as they look to build their rivalry for years to come. The game will be televised nationally on TSN in Canada and it can also be watched on The Rugby Network.

 

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