San Diego Legion & Houston SaberCats
The San Diego Legion pre-season consisted of two matches. They won their opening match 32-24 two weeks ago against Austin Elite Rugby and host the Houston SaberCats on Saturday, April 7 at 5 pm PDT at Torero Stadium in San Diego. The team will begin their regular Major League Rugby season against the Seattle Seawolves on Sunday, April 22 at 5 pm PDT at Starfire Stadium.
The Houston SaberCats are 11-2-2 after a draw against the New Orleans Gold on March 25. The SaberCats will face NOLA Gold Rugby Club at Houston’s Dyer Stadium on April 21 at 7 pm CDT in the Major League Rugby regular season-opening match.
San Diego Legion
Little has been known about the San Diego Legion until the pre-season. They have many Eagles and Eagles Sevens players on the squad, but the cohesion gained from pre-season matches is limited based on a two-match schedule.
It should be noted that a number of Eagles were part of the Americas Rugby Championship, while others are participating in the HSBC World Sevens Series. The team certainly appears to work closely with the National teams, and this makes for a talented team, however, the team may be swapping talented players out based on National interests.
The team has played one match against Austin Elite Rugby two weeks ago. The match demonstrated the team’s potential to be creative and play attacking rugby. The scrum was a concern in the first match, however, there have been some additions to the team, as well as, many forward changes for the match against the SaberCats.
Head Coach Rob Hoadley has made six changes and three positional changes from the first pre-season match against Austin Elite Rugby on March 25. Most of the changes are in the forwards. The front row consists of Eagle Tony Purpura at loosehead prop, Gil Covey moves from prop to hooker, with Dolph Botha playing and starting his first match at tighthead prop. Lance Lamprecht joins the team at lock with Albert Harmon switching sides. Devon Short gains a start at flanker with Cam Dolan moving from lock to No. 8 and Mungo Mason moving from No. 8 to flanker.
The backs remain the same, except at fullback with Anthony Welmers taking over as Dylan Audsley has the week off.
There are also changes in the reserves with Aaron Mitchell at prop and Drew Gaffney, Sione Letoi, and Garrett Brewer seeing their first action.
Head Coach Justin Fitzpatrick has made seven changes since the team’s 32 all draw against NOLA Gold on March 24. Five of the changes are in the forwards with Jake Turnbull at loosehead prop and Lindsey Stevens at hooker. Justin Allen is at lock, Chris Coyle at flanker, and Matt Trouville at No. 8. In the backs, Chris Slater will start for the first time and will pair with Sam Windsor. Alex Elkins also returns as a starter at wing.
The SaberCats have taken the opportunity to prepare the team for 16 pre-season matches. Player combinations have been tested and based on a combination of rotating players and lending reserves to local clubs, players will be ready to begin the season.
Major League Rugby pre-season also includes a number of matches against teams that they will face in the regular season. This provides the opportunity to see the other players in matches and should assist the League goals of creating parity and enhancing the fan experience.
Teams change their lineups when they face common opponents, but the opening regular season match between the SaberCats and NOLA Gold Rugby Club will be the 3rd and most important meeting between the clubs. Their attack and defense systems are in place and the players have had opportunities to test them in battle.
San Diego Legion and Houston SaberCats Squads
San Diego Legion: 1 Tony Purpuram 2 Gil Covey 3 Dolph Botha 4 Lance Lamprecht 5 Albert “Jay” Harmon 6 Mungo Mason 7 Devin Short 8 Cam Dolan 9 Nate Augspurger (C) 10 Tadhg Leader 11 Nick Evans 12 Ben Cima 13 Anthony Salaber 14 Taku Ngwenya 15 Anthony Welmers 16 Josh Zamudio 17 Tasi Toilolo 18 Aaron Mitchell 19 Sione Tu’ihalamaka 20 Chris Turori 21 Drew Gaffney 22 Sione Letoi 23 Garrett Brewer + Head Coach Rob Hoadley
Houston SaberCats: 1 Adam Macklin 2 Diego Maquierira 3 Paul Mullen 4 Charlie Hewitt 5 Robert Meeson 6 Kyle Sumsion (C) 7 Cecil Garber 8 Pago Haini 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 Kenneth Hepburn 19 Justin Allen 20 Chris Coyle 21 Chris Slater 22 Kieran Farmer 23 Alex Elkins 24 Chris Parker 25 Matt Trouville + Head Coach Justin Fitzpatrick
San Diego Legion Pre-season Schedule
San Diego Legion 2018 Major League Rugby Schedule
- April 22 at Seattle Seawolves
- April 29 vs. Utah Warriors
- May 4 vs. Houston SaberCats
- May 13 at Glendale Raptors
- May 26 at Austin Elite
- June 9 at New Orleans Gold
- June 17 vs. Austin Elite
- June 23 vs. Glendale Raptors
Houston SaberCats Pre-Season Record
- April 7 vs San Diego Legion 7 pm Preview
- March 24 at New Orleans Gold (D 32-32) Preview
- March 3 vs Ontario Arrows (D 28-28) Preview
- Feb 24 vs New Orleans Gold (W 30-12) Preview
- Feb 17 vs NYAC (W 39-38) Preview
- Feb 10 vs Chicago Lions (W 61-10) Preview
- Feb 3 vs Capital Selects (W 49-03) Preview
- Jan 27 vs James Bay Athletic Association (W 42-13) Preview
- Jan 20 vs Uruguay (L 24-32) Preview
- Jan 13 vs Vancouver Ravens (L 23-26) Preview
- Jan 6 vs Seattle Saracens (W 50-07)
- Dec. 16 vs Dallas Reds (W 21-05)
- Dec. 9 at Austin Blacks (W 55-21)
- Dec. 2 at Dallas Quins (W 125-00)
- Nov. 18 vs Dallas Reds at U. Houston (W 31-24)
- Nov 11 vs Austin Blacks (W 46-31)
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