Houston SaberCats & Connor Murphy
The Houston SaberCats, formerly the Houston Strikers, are pleased with the impact of scrum-half 22-year-old Connor Murphy has made with the team as it readies for the start of the 2018 Major League Rugby season. The team has had two scrimmages against the Austin Blacks and Dallas Rugby, winning both. They will embark on a difficult pre-season schedule beginning January 6, 2018, against the Seattle Saracens. They will play both teams from the USA and Canada, as well as the Uruguay National Rugby Team.
Connor was born and raised in the South West London suburb, Sunbury-On-Thames, where he began playing rugby at age 12. He went to the Sunbury Major School and graduated in 2012. Two years later he joined the London Irish amateur team, the Exiles where he stood out. The Rugby Paper Co. UK indicates that he then joined the AASE programme at St. Paul’s Catholic College, where the team lost in the AASE League Semi-Finals in 2013.
Connor also played on the England Under-16s and played in the Singha Premiership Rugby 7s Series with the London Irish in 2014 and 2015.
At age 18 he signed his first professional contract with the London Irish and was assigned to the Senior Academy. While there, he worked with former England No.9 Paul Hodgson, Declan Danaher, and Nick Kennedy and the improvement in his core skills, passing, and kicking were evident within a couple of months.
In February 2015 the London Irish provided a glimpse about Connor Murphy in their YouTube video “A Day in the Life of an Academy Player.”
His contract with the London Irish Senior Academy was extended in 2015. “The young scrum-half, who has been a regular in the A-League, is currently dual registered with Henley Hawks where he has secured a starting position and is now a key member of their squad.”
The Henley Hawks were in the National League Two and provided him with additional playing time and a competition to help him develop as a player. While with the Henley Hawks in 2015 he suffered a broken fibula in April and he would need to re-hab and prepare for the next pre-season. He did that and returned to the Hawks in September 2015.
On Nov. 25, 2015, in a Premiership A side match against Bristol United, “Connor Murphy who got his name on the scoresheet, dabbing down after breaking blind and leaving the Bristol defense in his wake.”
Connor was also listed in the Dec. 31, 2016, match report when the London Irish beat Bedford. On March 11, 2017, Connor was on the winning squad against Yorkshire-Carnegie. Connor gained a start at scrum-half in 2017 for the London Irish in the second round of the British & Irish Cup against the Connacht Eagles side, which consisted both Academy & Club players.
Murphy was promoted to the London Irish, however, he continued to play some matches with Henley prior to his leaving for Houston in the Summer, 2017.
Houston SaberCats Team Release
In the initial team release Connor, it was indicated that the team is “pleased to announce the signing of scrum-half Connor Murphy a product of the London Irish & IRFU Irish Exiles rugby pathway. Connor comes to the Strikers with experience in the Anglo-Welsh competition, and the English Championship and British & Irish Cup competition.
Conner said that “I’m over the moon to be joining the Strikers. After speaking to Justin I felt that Houston was the place for me to continue with my development as a rugby player. I can’t wait to get to America and jump in with a new group of players and coaches. Major League Rugby is going to be very new and different to the English leagues and it’s a challenge I’m looking forward to.”
Strikers Head Coach, Justin Fitzpatrick said, “Connor is a talented young scrum-half who brings a wealth of experience and pedigree to the Strikers. Scrumhalf is a critical position within any team and having a first-class operator there like Connor will add great value to the squad.”
Connor Murphy Reflects on Houston SaberCats & London Irish
Connor has now spent some time with the Houston SaberCats and has had a chance to reflect on the team, as well as his time that he developed as a player with the London Irish. He said: I’m really enjoying the time with the lads and the city. The practice is very similar to back home. It is still short with the emphasis on a high work rate. We are playing a very similar system to my last club, so I feel that what’s helped me fit in more easily.”
“My time with the London Irish was great. I had my ups and downs with playing and with injuries. I was very lucky to have the coaches that I had from when I joined the Academy at 14 to the time I left.”
Houston SaberCats Rugby
- Justin Fitzpatrick – Head Coach
- Sam Windsor – Backs Coach, Fly-half
- Matt Trouville – Academy Director, Backrow
- Charlie Hewitt – Lock
- Jake Turnbull – Prop
- Adam Macklin – Tighthead Prop
- Connor Murphy – Scrum-half
- Jackson Slater – Lock
- Kyle Sumsion – Flanker
- Christopher Slater – Wing
- Cody Jones – Prop
- Diego Armando Maquieira – Hooker
- Pagopagohokma Taeaomua Haini – Backrow
- Zach Pangelinan – Fullback
- Oscar Kolinisau – Center
- Estevan Florez – Prop
- Johnny Marcel Harrison – Wing
- Cecil Garber IV – Flanker
- Colton Pederson – Backrow
- Craig Whitlock – Backrow
- Malacchi Esdale – Center
- LaThaddeus Hill Jr. – Wing
- Conor Mills – Flyhalf
- Kieran Farmer– Flyhalf
- Willie Perry-Jackson – Wing
- Andres Diaz – Flanker
- Josua Vici – Wing
- Chris Parker – Lock
- Chris Milledge – Scrumhalf
- Kenneth Hepburn – Flanker
- Dan Paul – Wing
- Robert Meeson – Lock
- Jack Riley – Prop
- Lindsey Stevens – Hooker
- Art Reyes – Wing