The NOLA Gold beat the Utah Warriors 28-19 on Saturday in Marrero, extending its lead atop the Major League Rugby standings.
Tristan Blewett, the team’s leading try-scorer, scored in the fourth minute when he intercepted a Utah pass and took it 45 meters the other way for a try.
It was Blewett’s eighth try this season and third from an intercept.
“With our defense, we actually want to get up into their face and we want good line speed," Blewett said. "So if the team is not looking up, they don’t see you coming up and you get a lot of those opportunities with that."
After the Gold led 14-0, Utah answered back with two straight scores.
Utah's Johnny Ika scored a short try just before the half in the 39th minute, but the conversion attempt was missed. The Gold led 14-5 at halftime.
Utah’s Josh Whippy then scored in 51st minute to cut NOLA’s lead to 14-12.
Just three minutes later, Blewett found a gap in Utah’s defense and offloaded the assisting pass to JP Eloff, who finished off the eventual game-winning try for a 21-12 lead.
“That was part of our set piece, to suck some of their backs in so that we could get a bit of an overlap," Blewett said. "The forwards did a good job in that, so their defense sort of sat off me, which gave me a bit of space to get a half-gap, and JP ran a perfect line short and he got the score."
Although the Gold won and earned a bonus point by scoring four tries, coach Nate Osborne said his team made too many mistakes.
“The couple of times that we held onto the ball and put pressure on them, we were able to exploit them and score tries, but we didn’t do it for long enough today," he said. "That was a game that I feel like we could have won by a lot more, but I’m happy to take the win and move on."
The NOLA Gold travel to face the Seattle Seawolves at 9 p.m. next Sunday.
NOLA’s next home game is 2 p.m. May 11 at Gold Stadium on Archbishop Shaw High School’s campus in Marrero.