Houston SaberCats Open MLR Exhibition Season With Win
The Houston SaberCats defeated the Seattle Saracens 50-7 to begin the 2018 Exhibition Season Opener January 6th at Constellation Field in Sugar Land, Texas. The match was played before a sell out crowd of 5354 fans.
The SaberCats entered the match after going undefeated in November and December during five scrimmages against the Austin Blacks, Dallas Reds, and the Dallas Harlequins. Their 2018 exhibition season will consist of 11 matches against some of the top club teams in the USA and Canada, as well as, the Uruguay National team and one Major League Rugby team, the New Orleans Gold.
The regular Major League Rugby 2018 season begins for the Houston Sabercats on April 21 against the New Orleans Gold and concludes June 23 away against the Utah Warriors. Follow the Houston SaberCats (schedule) and the other Major League Rugby teams.
The Houston SaberCats are one of seven professional rugby teams playing in Major League Rugby. The other teams are Austin Elite Rugby, Glendale Raptors, New Orleans Gold, San Diego Legion, Seattle Seawolves, and the Utah Warriors.
Jeremy Turner has been instrumental in bringing professional rugby to Houston. Working closely with Head Coach Justin Fitzpatrick a talented team has been assembled. Player-coach Sam Windsor is a seasoned professional and along with Academy coach and player, Matt Trouville, these coaches have canvased the Houston media, have conducted clinics and unified the greater Houston rugby pathway from Youth, high school, college, club to professional rugby. The entire SaberCats team has been very active in the local community.
The Houston SaberCats are playing the 2018 Major League Rugby season at Constellation Field. They are in the process of building a new stadium which will be expanded in stages and could ultimately support over 10,000 fans.
Constellation Field offers a family-centered venue. It includes many types of ways to experience a match from Sky Boxes, the Insperity Club, the Bud Light Ice House, full-service concessions, as well as, picnic and children’s entertainment areas. Matches begin at 7 p.m. CT on Saturdays. There is tailgating, a Fan Zone, live music and other activities beginning at 3 p.m.
Houston SaberCats vs. Seattle Saracens
The Houston SaberCats are a formidable team with former PRO 12 players Jamie Dever, Adam Macklin, Connor Murphy and Sam Windsor. The team also has two Fiji Sevens players in Osea Kolinisau and Joshua Vici. Add USA players with Eagles experience, Kyle Sumsion, the SaberCats captain, Matt Trouville and Zack Pangelinan, as well as Pago Haini, a capped Eagles 7s player. Robert Meeson, Cecil Garber IV, and Justin Allen have played professionally and the supporting cast includes many former college rugby players.
The Seattle Saracens play in the British Columbia Premier League and also have a Division 1 team in the League as well. Although the team is missing a few key players, they do have two Eagles in Aladdin Schirmer and Mike Garrity and former Fiji Sevens captain William Rasileka. Speedster Dion Crowder is a wing. The side includes three Seattle Seawolves players in Schirmer, Crowder, and Louie Henson.
The Houston SaberCats played before a sold-out crowd and played excellent attacking rugby, along with holding off the Seattle Saracens twice in the red zone repelling Seattle from scoring. The SaberCAts jumped to a 36-0 lead at the break and finished off the night with a 50-7 win.
Thirteen minutes into the match, a Josua Vici offload lead to a Sam Windsor try. Zach Pangelinan converted and the SaberCats led 7-0. Three minutes later, the SaberCats controlled a lineout and went wide to Vici for a try which was also converted by Pangelinan.
Speedster Malacchi Esdale added the team’s third try in the 24th minute and four minutes later Connor Murphy added another. Both tries were unconverted, but the team had a 24-0 lead.
With two minutes remaining before the break Sam Windsor scored his second try and in the 40th minute, Zach Pangelinan added a sixth team try and with the conversion the SaberCatsled 36-0 at halftime.
During the second half, the defenses thwarted scoring attempts, as only three tries occurred.
In the 58th minute, the SaberCats Pago Haini scored the first try of the half and Zack Pangelinan increasing the lead to 43-0. In the 78th minute, a William Rasileka fend sprung Dion Crowder down the wing and this ultimately led to a penalty try for Seattle to narrow the lead to 43-7.
The SaberCats had another scoring opportunity in the 80th minute off a Dan Paul break and an offload to Malacchi Esdale, who knocked tha ball in-goal. Shortly later with time expired, Pago Haini added his second try, which was then converted for the 50-7 victory.
Houston SaberCats: 1 Jamie Dever, 2 Diego Maquieira, 3 Adam Macklin, 4 Robert Meeson, 5 Justin Allen, 6 Kyle Sumsion (capt.), 7 Cecil Garber, 8 Matt Trouville, 9 Connor Murphy, 10 Sam Windsor, 11 Josua Vici, 12 Conor Mills, 13 Osea Kolinisau, 14 Malacchi Esdale, 15 Zach Pangelinan 16 Jack Riley, 17 Estevan Florez, 18 Kenneth Hepburn, 19 Chris Parker, 20 Pago Haini, 21 Chris Slater, 22 Kieran Farmer, 23 Dan Paul
Seattle Saracens: 1 Kellen Gordon, 2 Dan Trierweiler, 3 Mike Shepherd, 4 Nick McKenna, 5 Taylor Krumrei, 6 Cole van Harn, 7 Jon Valz, 8 Aladdin Schirmer, 9 Isaiah Chinen, 10 Zach Burns, 11 Dion Crowder, 12 Mike Garrity, 13 Sequoyah Burke-Combs, 14 Will Stowers, 15 Cecil Ala 16 Ryan Youngman, 17 Louie Henson, 18 Ben Gustafson, 19 Eric Soto, 20 Ryan Snider, 21 Jonny Reid, 22 William Rasileka, 23 Neori Driu