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Are you ready for some (rugby) football?

New Orleans Gold playing in Major League Rugby’s inaugural season



NOLA Gold center Tim Maupin in action against the Austin Elite.

Craig Boudreaux

New Orleans is a football town. That usually applies to American football, but a new football team is trying to win over the Crescent City.

The New Orleans Gold are participating in the inaugural season of Major League Rugby, a professional rugby union league, which started play this spring with a 10-week regular season and four-team playoff that runs from April through June. MLR consists of seven teams, located in New Orleans; Austin, Texas; Glendale, Colo.; Houston; San Diego; Seattle; and Salt Lake City. The league is looking to expand next season, with potential new teams in New York, Dallas, and Toronto. Boston, Chicago, and Vancouver are also being looked at for expansion.

Each of the inaugural clubs paid a fee of roughly $500,000 to join the league, which owns each of seven clubs with club operators owning a share of the league.

The New Orleans Gold, also known as NOLA Gold plays in Marrero at Archbishop Shaw High School’s Eagle Athletic Facility, a new multi-use stadium with permanent lighting, changing room facilities, and seating for 3,000 people.

Halfway through the season, the Gold are 2-2-1. They’ll play their next two games at home against Seattle tomorrow and Houston next Saturday.

The Gold’s roster includes 32 players from the United States, Canada, South Africa, Chile, Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji. The team is coached by Nate Osborne, who previously served as player with the Denver Barbarians of the Rugby Super League, head coach of Metropolis Rugby Football Club, and assistant coach of the United States national rugby union team in the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

With the founding of the New Orleans Rugby Football Club in 1973, the sport has had a cult following in the Big Easy for more than 45 years. The Gold are hoping to take rugby to new heights in New Orleans. Through exciting on-field action and a great fan experience, the team is hoping to expand the game locally and develop youth rugby in the region.

The team offers a variety of ticket options, including silver section general admission seats for $20 per ticket purchased in advance online or $25 at gate, the standing room only Family Fun Zone gets adults into games for $10 with kids getting free admission. Gold section  VIP seats cost $80 and include chair back seats and all inclusive food, beer, and wine.

Group tickets are also available at $18 per ticket for a minimum of 10 people in the silver section and a minimum of 30 people in the gold section. A VIP corporate package featuring an all-you-can eat and drink option is available at $70 per ticket for a minimum of 10 tickets.

MLR games are played on Saturday afternoons and Sunday evenings. The CBS Sports Network will broadcast and live stream 13 matches nationally this season, including a Game of the Week, the playoff semifinals, and the championship. Additional games will be available on ESPN properties and regional sports networks. AT&T Sports Networks have a 17-game package covering six of the seven MLR teams for games not broadcast on the CBS Sports Network, including home and away matches for Austin, Houston and New Orleans.

 

 

NOLA Gold at a glance

Founded          2017

Ground(s)        Eagle Athletic Facility, Marrero, La. (Capacity: 3,000)

CEO                Michael Lieberman 

Coach             Nate Osborne

League            Major League Rugby

 

2018 Schedule

Date     Opponent                            Result               Score

2/24     Houston SaberCats                W                  30-12

3/10     Glendale Raptors                  L                   38-14

3/28     Houston SaberCats              D                   32-32

3/31     Austin Elite                       Exhibition

4/7       Austin Elite                       Exhibition

4/21     Houston SaberCats                W                  35-26

5/3       Austin Elite                              L                   30-17

5/12     Seattle Seawolves

5/19     Houston SaberCats

5/27     Seattle Seawolves

6/3       Glendale Raptors

6/9       San Diego Legion

6/16     Utah Warriors

 

*Home games in bold

 

 

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Chris Price is an award-winning journalist and public relations principal. When he's not writing, he's avid about music, the outdoors and Saints, Ole Miss & Chelsea football. He lives in New Orleans with his wife, two girls and three Labradors. In addition reporting on New Orleans sports, he is looking forward to Biz’s assignment to cover the Mint 400, “The Great American Off-Road Race.”

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