This was a perfect day for rugby, with conditions ideal for NOLA Gold’s free flowing game. This proved to be the case on the 8 minute when NOLA winger Tim Maupin finished off a free flowing move that saw NOLA break from inside their half. Maupin then beat a defender with a nice side step to touch down under the posts for a 7 pointer.
Just before the water break on the 20 minute mark, Austin Elite winger Soheyl Jaoudat intercepted a NOLA pass just inside of the Austin 22 and ran the length of the pitch to touch down. The score 7-7 on the 20 minute mark and this seemed to give Austin more confidence as they began to string some move together and threatened the NOLA defence for the first time in the game.
However NOLA bounced back on the 24th minute through a chance try. Austin had a scrum on their own 5 metre line and when the ball was not
controlled at the base of the scrum. NOLA scrum-half Holden Yungert was first to react and pounced on the ball to score the try, giving NOLA the lead once again at 14-7. NOLA subsequently added to the scoreboard on the 30th minute through a patient buildup. The NOLA forwards drove over and prop Hubert Buydens was the man to come up with the ball.
AER did their best to remain in the game and right before half time on the 39th minute, Austin’s captain Ben Mitchell stretched out to touch down for
the try. The try stood even though it did look on second viewing that there was no downward pressure on the ball. The score going into half time was 21-12 to NOLA.
The second half took some time to get to the level of the first half but on the 47th minute the game kicked right back into gear. Kyle Baillie picked a great line before he executed a great pass for Con Foley to finish off in what was a flowing move starting just inside NOLA’s own half.
Austin did respond on the 57th minute with a moment of genius from scrum half Mickaël Romera who delicately chipped the ball over the NOLA defensive line from 5 metres out for Silva to pounce onto making it a nine point game and keeping the Elite in contention. They added to this shift of momentum on the 64th minute after a patient build-up including multiple phases, hooker Chris Schade drove over with the help of his forward pack to make it a two point game with the score 28-26 .
In what was Austin Elite’s most dominant period in the game they scored their third try in ten minutes on the 67th minute. The exciting winger Soheyl Jaoudat ran an excellent supporting line from an initial break and did well to finish off the move to touch down and give Austin the lead for the first time in the game.
NOLA Gold threw everything at the Austin defence in the final moments and it looked like they would hold out. With 4 minutes to go, the Austin defence put in a massive tackle which forced NOLA to knock on. NOLA however claimed the ball from the subsequent clearance and it was from here that NOLA broke through the tired Austin defence with substitute scrum half Michael Baska finishing off a try to snatch victory from Austin Elite. The game ended 35-31 to NOLA Gold.
Austin played significantly better over extended periods of the game than they previously had done. Austin’s second half performance was particularly impressive and given NOLA’s form to date, Austin were desperately unlucky not to get more than a losing bonus point out of this game.