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NOLA Gold use second-half surge to beat Arrows in MLR play

NOLA Gold vs. Toronto Arrows NOLA Gold vs. Toronto Arrows - The Canadian Press

METAIRIE, La. — NOLA Gold ran in four second-half tries to defeat Toronto 40-24 Sunday, handing the injury-plagued Arrows a seventh straight loss in Major League Rugby play.

After trailing 14-0, Toronto scored 17 unanswered points only to see New Orleans answer with 26 straight points.

The Arrows (1-9-0, eight points) have not won since downing the expansion Chicago Hounds 27-26 on March 11. New Orleans (5-5-0, 26 points) was coming off a 37-24 win over Chicago.

Trailing 14-10 at the half, Toronto prop Lolani Faleiva crashed over in the 43rd minute for a converted try and a 17-14 Arrows lead.

But eight minutes later, Jordan Jackson-Hope gathered his own kick and scored under the posts to regain the lead at 21-17. New Orleans increased the lead to 40-17 on tries by Matt Harmon, Harley Wheeler and Maciu Koroi in the 61st, 65th and 71st minute.

Another Wheeler try was negated for taking a potential Arrows tackler out of the play in the buildup to the score.

Ramon Ayarza added a late converted try for the Arrows.

JP du Plessis and Canadian Eric Howard also scored tries for New Orleans.

Mitch Richardson also scored a try for Toronto. Shane O'Leary added a penalty and two conversions with the Arrows also getting an automatic conversion for scoring under the posts.

Down 14-0 after conceding two early tries, the Arrows got on the board in the 18th minute with an intercept try by Richardson who touched down under the posts.

New Orleans replacement hooker Pat O'Toole exited gingerly in the 59th minute after taking a knee to the head while attempting a tackle.

Howard and fellow Canadian Luke Campbell started for New Orleans.

Toronto was missing the injured Nic Benn, Ciaran Breen, Cole Davis, Connor Grindal, Sam Malcolm, Peter Nelson, Conan O’Donnell, Tautalatasi Tasi, Corey Thomas and Micaiah Torrance-Read.

Still the Arrows matchday squad included nine internationals: seven from Canada and one each from Chile and Ireland.


This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 30, 2023