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In their first game since the fall season, Old Blue defeated NOLA 32-19 in New Orleans Saturday. The New York side shook off the rust in the second half to score 25 unanswered points for the victory.
Old Blue struggled to keep pace with NOLA in the first half. After nearly six months off, Old Blue fell behind 16-7 at halftime. New Orleans, who is midway through the Red River, and sitting in second place, took advantage of Old Blue mistakes to take the lead.
“It was a bit of rust, the first 20 minutes looked like we hadn’t played in six months,” said Director of rugby Steve Lewis.
NOLA extended their lead early in the second half to 19-7 but that would be all the points the home side would get. Old Blue took a more tactical approach vying for a field position game rather than grinding it out.
“We got a little more structured in the second half,” Lewis added. “We had quite a bit of success in the set scrum so we decided to play just a little more territorial.”
The Old Blue scrum earned two pushover tries in the second half and let two other opportunities go begging. Compounding the struggles for New Orleans, the home side had a player sent to the bin with a yellow card. Old Blue capitalized on the man advantage and with territory kicks and penalties were able to come away with a 32-19 road victory.
James Bird had a tremendous second half kicking from hand, helping Old Blue control possession and territory. Alex Schwarz came off the bench and added a try from the back row and newcomer Harry Higgins, from Arkansas State, had a quality performance.
For Old Blue, they continue to prepare for the second half of the ARP season. Although it is unlikely that anybody will catch Life, second place in the ARP earns a spot in the DI quarterfinals. Old Blue still has much to play for, as they trail NYAC for 2nd in the ARP.
“There is still a great deal to play for,” Lewis indicated. “Catching Life is not going to happen but we are quite looking forward to matching up with our friends across the city and chasing hard for that second spot.”