Houston SaberCats vs. NYAC Rugby Preview

Houston SaberCats vs. NYAC Rugby

The Houston SaberCats face New York Athletic Club Rugby (NYAC) on Saturday, Feb. 17 at Constellation Field in Sugarland, Texas. The match will kick off at 7 pm CST with Grant Cole and Brett Mills providing both pre-match and match commentary for on MixLr. The Houston SaberCats have a 9-2 record and defeated the Chicago Lions President’s XV last Saturday.

This Saturday is designated as First Responders Night. All First Responders showing their ID at the box office will obtain a 20% discount on tickets.

Tailgating starts at 3 pm in the stadium parking and the stadium doors will open at 5:30! FRom 4-7 pm there will be a live DJ. Players will sign autographs between 5:30-6:30 pm. PHI Air Medical will deliver the game ball by helicopter to the match this Saturday at 6:40 pm – so get to your seats early! Match kick-off is at 7 pm.

Houston SaberCats

Justin Fitzpatrick, head coach of the Houston SaberCats,  has made three changes in his starting XV from the 61-10 win over the Chicago Lions President’s XV. Diego Maquierira, Robert Meeson, and Cecil Garber swap starts with Lindsey Stevens, Justin Allen, and Chris Parker, respectively. The team continues to rotate players with reserves entering during the second half and then starting the following week.

In the reserves, Jake Turnbull will return from an early pre-season injury at prop. Chris Coyle was scratched from last week’s team roster after getting the flu and he will additional firepower at flanker. Justin Allen will be the tallest player on the pitch at 6’10” and has proved himself with his mobility around the pitch, as well in the lineouts. Pago Haini has had a couple weeks off, but has been one of the hardest tacklers at No. 8.

The strength of the SaberCats so far, has been in the scrums. Adam Macklin and Paul Mullen give the opposition fits in the front row. In the second half, Eagle Jake Turnbull and cross-over football player Chauntez Jackson will perform well up front. Diego Maquierira and his expected replacement, Lindsey Stevens have been very effective at hooker. The locks have rotated with Charlie Hewitt, Robert Meeson and Justin Allen being outstanding in the tight five. The back row combination of Kyle Sumsion, Cecil Graber, and Matt Trouville play excelletn defense and quickly link in the attack. When they need a break, Chris Parker, Chris Coyle, and Pago Haini will be up to the task.

The SaberCats attempt to move the ball wide and want to control the match with their ball handling and fast pace. Teams that can slow down play have greater opportunities for creating sustained attacks. Scrum half Connor Murphy and Sam Windsor are the field generals on the backs. Inside center Conor Mills is also a very capable flyhalf and Osea Kolinisau passing must be seen. The wings Josua Vici and Malacchi Esdale have burned many defenders on the outside channel, while Zach Pangelinan is always ready to attack and is also an outstanding kicker. Reserve backs include Chris Slater, who can play wing or scrum half, youngster Kieran Farmer at fly half, and Dan Paul at center.

NYAC Rugby

The New York Athletic Club Rugby Club have a rich history of winning national club championships. Australian Chris Edwards, who played for the Australian Schoolboys and for Eastern Suburbs, has taken over the head coaching duties from Mike Tolkin, who is now the head coach of the Rugby United NY, Major League Rugby 2018 Associate member and 2019 member. Luke Cousins, who is from London, is the Assistant Coach. This is the first match of the 2018 season for NYAC.

The starting front row includes 350 pound Kirkland Hamilton, who played with the USA islanders, at loosehead prop. Anthony Parry, who played prop with the Ohio Aviators, is at hooker. Brian McKellar, a former Penn State player, is at tighthead prop. The locks include Gethin Davies, who is 6″6″ and played for both Blackheath and Ealing in the U.K. He is paired with Pat Coleman, who is 6’4″ and was a USA under-20s player. At flanker is Ross Deacon, who played for both Leinster & USA under-20s and most recently with Lansdowne in Dublin. He is paired with James Denise. Rounding out the forwards is No. 8 Mike Webb, who is from London and played with the Northampton Saints and Belmont Shore.

In the backs, Marcus Stump Walsh is the scrumhalf. He is from Dublin and played for Connacht and for Life University. Australian Harry Bennett is the flyhalf and played for the NSW Waratahs and the Sacramento Express. The centers are both powerful runners with Quentin Pradere at inside center and Eagle Seamus kelly at outside center. Pradere played for the London Irish and McGill University. The back three include Charles Guiraud, formerly of the Olympic Club, and Greg Voigt at wing and Jack Fitzpatrick at fullback. Fitzpatrick played for the Ireland Under-18s, for Canada A, and for Trinity College in Dublin.

The reserves include John Santiago, who played at Notre Dame College, Adam Zeich, formerly of Morris, Brandon Wynne, and Ryan McTiernan, who played for both the Ohio Aviators and Village Lions. Rounding out the reserves are Sean Beuche, who played previously at the University of Wisconsin and for the Milwaukee Barbarianss, Stuart Williamson (Australian under-20s), David Snead, a scrumhalf who played collegiate rugby initially at Arkansas State before transferring to Kutztown University, and Joe Kelly, the former Penn State fullback.

Houston SaberCats Pre-Season Record

Houston SaberCats 2018 Major League Rugby Schedule

  • April 21 vs New Orleans Gold 7 pm
  • April 28 vs Austin Elite 7 pm
  • May 5 at San Diego Legion 7 pm
  • May 19 at New Orleans Gold 7 pm
  • May 26 vs. Utah Warriors 7 pm
  • June 2 vs. Seattle Seawolves 7 pm
  • June 9 at Glendale Raptors 7 pm
  • June 23 at utah Warriors 7 pm

Houston SaberCats & NYAC Squads

Houston SaberCats: 1 Adam Macklin 2 Diego Maquieira 3 Paul Mullen 4 Charlie Hewitt 5 Robert Meeson 6 Kyle Sumsion (C) 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 Lindsey Stevens 17 Jake Turnbull 18 Chauntez Jackson 19 Justin Allen 20 Chris Parker 21 Chris Coyle 22 Chris Slater 23 Kieran Farmer 24 Dan Paul 25 Pago Haini

NYAC: 1 Kirkland Hamilton 2 Anthony Parry 3 Brian McKellar 4 Gethin Davies 5 Pat Coleman 6 Ross Deacon 7 James Denise 8 Mike Webb 9 Marcus Stump Walsh 10 Harry Bennett 11 Charles Guiraud 12 Quentin Pradere 13 Seamus Kelly 14 Greg Voigt 15 Jack Fitzpatrick 16 John Santiago 17 Adam Zeich 18 Brandon Wynne 19 Ryan McTiernan 20 Sean Beuche 21 Stuart Williamson 22 David Snead 23 Joe Kelly

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North American Rugby News With A USA Slant