Elite Notch First Win Over Gold
Elite Notch First Win Over Gold
MLR Correspondent, Colton Strickler
It may have taken three weeks, but Austin Elite Rugby notched their first win of the Major League Rugby season in a 30-17 victory over the NOLA Gold on Thursday evening.
Austin (1-2), picked up a bonus point for scoring four tries in a match they only trailed once in en route to the win over the Gold (1-1).
NOLA, coming off a Week 2 bye, took a good portion of the first half to shake off the cobwebs. Austin made them pay early by picking up points when they could. Fly-half Timothee Guillimin got the scoring started with two early penalty kicks, putting NOLA in a 6-0 hole.
Austin’s hot start continued with a rumbling line break from their lock Ben Mitchell. Mitchell flicked the ball to fullback Ned Hodson who, with a full head of steam, finished the run for the first try of the match. Guillimin missed the conversion, but the Elite jumped out to an 11-0 lead.
Faced with an 11-point deficit and running out of time in the first half, the Gold began to chip away at the lead with a J.P. Eloff penalty kick. The Gold then turned a scrum deep in Elite territory into a try when flanker John Sullivan picked up the ball and scrambled in for a try between the posts. Eloff kicked the conversion and just like that NOLA went into the half trailing by just one point.
Austin didn’t waste much time adding some padding to their 11-10 lead after the half. Flanker Hanco Germishuys capitalized on a NOLA penalty by taking a quick tap in for a try. Guillimin was not able to convert, but Austin found themselves with some breathing room in the form of a 16-10 lead.
NOLA answered back by storming down the field and right back into Austin territory. They took advantage of an Austin yellow card by again turning a scrum into Sullivan’s second try of the match. Eloff made his conversion and the NOLA took a 17-16 lead.
The Gold met an Austin push with crafty tackling. They forced what looked to be the go-ahead Elite try into a knock-on in their own in-goal, and it seemed that the Gold were out of the woods. They pushed Austin back out into midfield, but they didn’t account for Germishuys. He took an offload from Ross Deacon, shed a slew of NOLA tacklers and stormed in for his second try of the match. Guillimin knocked the conversion through and settled into a 23-17 lead.
As the Gold drove down to answer, Hodson put an end to the back-and-forth match. As NOLA fly-half Taylor Howden tried to make something out of some space he spotted behind Austin’s backline with a chip over the top, Hodson snatched the ball and took it the other way for his second try of the match. Guillimin put the game on ice with his conversion, making it 30-17, and Austin picked up its first win of the season.
Austin will travel to Salt Lake City to take on the Warriors Friday, May 11, while NOLA will welcome the Seattle Seawolves to the Big Easy next Saturday.
Austin Elite Rugby
Tries: Ned Hodson (2), Hanco Germishuys (2)
Penalties: Timothee Guillimin (2/4)
Conversions: Timothee Guillimin (2/4)
Tries: John Sullivan (2)
Penalties: J.P. Eloff (1/1)
Conversions: J.P. Eloff (2/2)
Colton can be reached at email@example.com
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