The historic day for American rugby started at Dyer Stadium where the New Orleans Gold upset the hometown Houston SaberCats 35-26 to claim victory in the first ever Major League Rugby regular season contest. Damp and windy weather combined with a slew of penalties left little room for continuity but the two sides could not be faulted for commitment.
It took nearly 20 minutes for the opening score to come with both teams seemingly over-anxious to get their name in the record-books. Osea Kolinisau will go down as the first point-scorer in MLR history after reaching out from a tackle to touch down following a quick tap on the 5 meter line. Sam Windsor somehow flubbed the conversion but Houston were into the lead.
Almost from the restart a penalty was conceded to allow JP Eloff a kick at goal, which he duly made for NOLA’s first points. What followed next was what the fans were hoping to see.
With his countryman already on the board Fijian sensation Josua Vici scored an early contender for try of the year. The powerful winger ripped through the line, turned on the after-burners and fended off six defenders on the way to the corner. Windsor made good on the conversion despite the difficult angle and the two-point lead became nine.