Houston SaberCats Face Chicago Lions: 2019 New Rugby Facilities

Houston SaberCats vs. Chicago Lions

The Houston SaberCats beat the Capital Rugby Union Selects 49-3 to improve their record to 8-2. They face the Chicago Lions, a perennial Midwest D1 Club power at 7 pm CST Feb. 10 at Constellation Field in Sugarland, Texas. Grant Cole and Brett Mills provided 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.

Ladies Night Out

The Houston SaberCats host Ladies Night Out as they take on the Chicago Lions at Constellation Field. Tailgating starts at 3 pm in the stadium parking and the stadium doors will open at 5:30.

Ladies Night Out is sponsored by the Baylor College of Medicine! All women get 10% off all alcoholic drinks! women and groups get 20% off tickets! The first 1,000 ladies through the gates will receive a clear SaberCats tote bag!

Matchday schedule:
3:00 pm tailgating in the parking lot
4 pm-7pm DJ will be playing in the tailgates
5:30 pm gates open
5:30 pm-6: 30 pm players will be signing autographs
7 pm Kickoff

Houston SaberCats New Stadium Approved

The Houston SaberCats received excellent news this week as a 3.2 million stadium was approved by Houston City Council. Rebecca Elliott of the Houston Chronicle reported the news about the 3,500-seat stadium that is expected to be ready for the 2019 Major League Rugby season.

The Houston SaberCats are one of seven Major League Rugby teams in the inaugural 2018 season. The new stadium facility at Houston Amateur Sports Park, on the Texas 288 in south Houston, will include two rugby practice fields. Houston’s Amateur Sports Park was originally designed to hold 17 fields, seven of which have been built. The three rugby fields would bring that figure to 10.

“The city, meanwhile, will retain ownership of the site, lease the property to the SaberCats for 43 years and use $3.2 million from it’s 2012 bond package to reimburse the team for the cost of installing a 760-space parking lot and adding public utilities.”

“This is a major step forward,” Mayor Sylvester Turner said of the deal. “We say we’re an international city, and this helps to create those venues that can appeal to the interests of a very diverse population.”

SaberCats President Brian Colona said “we’re thrilled to have the city council back this thing with great support from Mayor Turner and his staff. This is the quintessential example of good public-private partnership in order to advance the needs of the community, and we’re happy to be a part of that.”

The SaberCats have also committed to providing at least 200 hours of free children’s rugby training annually, hosting high school rugby matches and running free rugby camps for children ages 6 through 14, among other types of community engagement.

“The SaberCats currently are playing exhibition games this winter at Sugar Land’s Constellation Field through March 3 and are scheduled to begin their inaugural season in April. The team still is looking for a temporary venue for this season and will announce that shortly.

Chicago Lions New Rugby Facility

The Chicago Lions will play at The Lions For Hope Sports Complex in 2019. The complex is an integral part of the redevelopment of Chicago’s North Lawndale, East Garfield Park neighborhoods. The location is 2600 West Polk Street, Chicago, IL 60612.

The Chicago Lions Charitable Association (CLCA), in partnership with Chicago Hope Academy (Hope), acquired 8 acres of undeveloped land on the near west side of Chicago on April 24, 2015. The complex will enable the CLCA and Hope to provide a safe environment for inner-city kids to participate in athletics in addition to developing and promoting youth rugby in the city of Chicago.

The Complex will be built in phases and it is expected to include

  • Two (2) fields to accommodate rugby, soccer, lacrosse, and football
  • Both fields will be lighted and, based on funding, artificial turf
  • Bleachers for the main field with capacity for 2,000-3,000
  • Parking lot
  • Fieldhouse:
    • Main room that can host events with kitchen capabilities
    • Deck or viewing area
    • Locker rooms with showers
    • Multi-purpose rooms
    • Concession stand
    • Weight room/athletic training room

Houston SaberCats vs. Chicago Lions

Justin Fitzpatrick has made six changes in the starters and one positional change from last week’s win over the Capital Rugby Union Selects. Additional changes were made in the reserves, to keep players fresh, as well as look at who to call upon during the season.

Forwards starting changes include front row changes with Adam Macklin at loosehead prop and Lindsey Stevens at hooker. Paul Mullen retains his position at tighthead prop. Both flankers were reserves last week as Chris Parker and captain Kyle Sumsion returns as starters. Charlie Hewitt and Justin Allen pair once again at lock and Matt Trouville return at No. 8.

In the backs, Connor Murphy is reunited with his fly-half, Sam Windsor. Conor Mills also returns at inside center with Osea Kolinisau shifting to his normal outside center position. The back three remain the same with Josua Vici and Malacchi Esdale the wings and Zach Pangelinan the fullback.

The reserves will include newly signed former University of Arizona flanker Chris Coyle, who returned from playing rugby in Australia. Last week’s starters Diego Maquieira, Rob Meeson, Cecil Garber, and Kieran Farmer are available. Estevan Florez and Chauntez Jackson are expected to see action in the second half at prop. Chris Slater, who doubles as a wing or scrum-half, Chris Milledge, as scrum-half, and Art Reyes at wing are also available.

The Chicago Lions are in second place in the Midwest Club Division 1 standings with a 9-5 record. The team will miss two key players who signed with Major League Rugby teams in JP Eloff (New Orleans Gold) and Angus MacLellan (Utah Warriors), who is playing for the Eagles on Saturday against Canada.

The team has Andrew Suniula on the squad, as he had played during the Fall for the Griffins. Jake Hidalgo and Brady Ghent are try scorers to watch for head coach Dave Clancy’s team.

Houston SaberCats: 1 Adam Macklin 2 Lindsey Stevensy 3 Paul Mullen 4 Charlie Hewitt 5 Justin Allen 6 Chris Parker 7 Kyle Sumsion (c) 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 Diego Maquieira 17 Chauntez Jackson 18  19 Robert Meeson 20 Cecil Garber 21 Chris Slater 22 Kieran Farmer 23 Art Reyes 24 Chris Coyle 25 Chris Milledge

Chicago Lions: 1 John Luhrsen 2 Chris Ghering 3 Eli Phillips 4 Scott Weber 5 Erik Jacobson 6 Sean Mahon 7 Jamie Brache 8 Andrew Rose 9 Brady Ghent 10 Alex Dorrier 11 jake Hidalgo 12 Andrew Suniula 13 Josh Allan 14 Brian Rooney 15 Sondai Adjei 16 Manny Aranda 17 Spencer Krueger 18 Phil Spagnolo 19 Dave Whitney 20 Quinn Maccali 21 Kevin Lydon 22 Alex Binetti 23 Dan Coci

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North American Rugby News With A USA Slant