Houston SaberCats vs. Capital Selects Preview

Houston SaberCats vs. Capital Rugby Union Selects

The Houston SaberCats will face the Capital Rugby Union Selects in their tenth pre-season match at 7 pm CST at Constellation Field in Sugarland, Texas. Grant Cole and Brett Mills provide the commentary for the team on MixLr.

The Houston SaberCats have had a busy January, defeating James Bay Athletic Association 42-13 on Jan. 27. On Jan. 20, the team lost to the Uruguay National Team 32-24, Jan 13 they lost in the final minutes to the Vancouver Ravens 26-23, and on Jan. 6 they won 50-7 against the Seattle Saracens, 50-7.

The team also won 5 matches in November and December against USA D1 Club competition.

For the Selects, it is their second match against a Major League Rugby team opponent. On January 20, the Selects traveled to New Orleans and lost to NOLA Gold 68-15. It was New Orleans Gold Rugby Club’s first pre-season match.

Houston SaberCats

Houston SaberCats head coach Justin Fitzpatrick has made seven changes to the starters from last week’s win against James Bay. In order to access his roster, the SaberCats are also playing with an expanded roster of 25 players.

Forward changes include Jack Riley and Paul Mullen, who were reserves last week, and will be at hooker and tighthead prop, respectively. Kenneth Hepburn, who played an excellent match at loosehead, retains his position. Justin Allen moved from the reserves to lock, where he will join Charlie Hewitt. Robert Meeson moves from lock to blindside flanker, where he will play with Cecil Garber IV. Matt Trouville replaces Kyle Sumsion at No. 8, with Sumsion available as a reserve.

In the backs, Connor Murphy will continue his solid play at scrumhalf, but Kieran Farmer will get his first start at flyhalf, as Sam Windsor moves to the reserves. Osea Kolinisau moves from wing to inside center with Dan Paul continuing at outside. Malacchi Esdale returns to the wing after a week off and his speed at wing, as well as Josua Vici will be difficult for the Selects to contain. Zach Pangelinan provides the stability at fullback and in the kicking game.

Reserves include a front row of Lindsey Stevens at hooker, crossover athlete Chauntez Jackson, who played football at the University of Houston, at loosehead prop, and Adam Macklin at tighthead. Andrez Diaz can also play hooker. Chris Parker and Kyle Sumsion are back row players.

Reserve backs include Chris Milledge at scrumhalf, Sam Windsor at flyhalf, Conor Mills at center and Chris Slater at either wing or scrumhalf.

Academy

The Houston SaberCats have their Academy in place with Matt Trouville the Director, and with Connor Murphy, Charlie Hewitt, Osea Kolinisau, and Jake Turnbull as coaches. Their High School Academy is being held Sunday from January 28 – April 1, 2018.

The intent of our High-Performance Academy is to create a clear development pathway from junior rugby to the professional team and beyond. The pathway is divided by age group: U20 (Men’s), U19 Varsity (High school), U17 Junior Varsity (High school), and U15 (High School).

Capital Selects

The Capital Selects have made four changes to their starting XV from their 68-15 loss to New Orleans Gold Rugby on January 20. Guy Lopresti, Eric Hagen, Zach Schell move from the reserves to the starters at hooker and flanker, for Adam Flood, Vili Siale, and Alex Diegel, respectively. In the backs, Justin Menke replaces the injured wing, Blake Carroll. Eugene Becton will also be a reserve.

The Capital Rugby Union Selects, are one of the leading active representative union sides in the United States.

Houston SaberCats & Capital Selects Squads

Houston SaberCats: 1 Kenneth Hepburn 2 Jack Riley  3 Paul Mullen 4 Charlie Hewitt  5 Justin Allen 6 Robert Meeson 7 Cecil Garber  8 Matt Trouville 9 Connor Murphy 10 Kieran Farmer 11 Josua Vici 12 Osea Kolinisau 13 Dan Paul 14 Malacchi Esdale 15 Zach Pangelinan 16 Lindsey Stevens 17 Chauntez Jackson 18 Adam Macklin 19  Chris Parker 20 Kyle Sumsion  21Chris Milledge  22 Sam Windsor 23 Conor Mills 24 Chris Slater 25 Andres Diaz

Capital Selects: 1 Jim Irey (Norfolk) 2 Guy Lopresti (PAC Exiles) 3 Evan Harkum (Baltimore-Chesapeake) 4 Tyler Barberi (Baltimore-Chesapeake) 5 Matt Holsopple (Norfolk) 6 Eric Hagen 7 Zach Schell (Pittsburgh)  8 Josh Brown (Rocky Gorge) 9 Sean Hartig (Rocky Gorge) 10 Jake Humphrey (Norfolk) 11 CJ Burnes (NOVA) 12 Campbell Johnstone (Beltway Elite) 13 Brian Mulloy (NOVA) 14 Justin Menke (Norfolk) 15 Nick Kuhl (Rocky Gorge) 16 Eric Sweeney (Baltimore-Chesapeake) 17 Adam Flood (James River) 18 Zack Jessell (Pittsburgh) 19 Alex Diegel (Beltway Elite) 20 Kevin Jackson (Rocky Gorge) 21 Vili Siale (Pittsburgh) 22 Calvin Storey (Raleigh) 23 Eugene Becton (Rocky Gorge)

Capital Selects Staff: Head Coach Chris Porter (Norfolk), Assistant Coaches Jeremy Frayne (Norfork) & Jon Grasso (Beltway Elite), Manager Roland Pratt (Beltway Elite), HP Director Steven Davis (Washington RFC)

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