New Orleans Gold Spoils Houston SaberCats Home Opener
The Houston SaberCats opened the regular Major League Rugby season against New Orleans Gold Rugby Club, losing 35-26 on Saturday, April 21 at Dyer Stadium in Houston, Texas. The match was broadcast on ESPN+ and locally in the Houston and New Orleans area on AT&T SportsNet -Southwest region. Internationally, the match was streamed on the Major League Rugby Facebook page.
Entering the match, both teams were familiar with each other having played twice in the pre-season. The SaberCats won 30-12 on February 24 at Constellation Field, while on March 24 they played to a 32-32 draw.
Houston SaberCats vs. New Orleans Gold Rugby Recap
The Houston SaberCats had two early opportunities to kick for points but chose to go for tries after penalties. The team did get the first points of the match in the 18th minute as Osea Kolinisau took a quick penalty tap and scored a try for a 5-0 lead. The wind would be a factor in the match and Sam Windsor’s conversion was wide.
Three minutes later, NOLA Gold cut the lead to 5-3 with a penalty kick by JP Eloff.
The SaberCats increased the lead to 12-3 after Zach Pangelinan took a high ball from Taylor Howden and offloaded to Josua Vici, who ran 50-meters for a try in the corner. Windsor then slotted the conversion.
A New Orleans Gold quick tap after a penalty had Holden Yungert advancing to within 5-meters of the line. Several phases later, Sebastian Kalm grounded the ball for a try. Eloff slotted the conversion to narrow the lead to 12-10.
In the 37th minute, Jake Turnbull was sent to the bin for not binding in a scrum. NOLA Gold could not take advantage and an Eloff penalty kick in the 40th minute was wide.
Early in the second half, NOLA Gold claimed the lead 15-12 on a Nikola Busic try from close range. Eloff would make a penalty kick and miss another before Matt Hughston caught a chip in-goal for a try, with Eloff converting for a 25-12 lead.
A penalty by NOLA Gold had the SaberCats kicking for touch and after the ensuing lineout mauled their way over the line with Jake Turnbull dotting down and cutting the lead to 25-19.
NOLA Gold struck back in the 73rd minute with an Eloff try in the left corner and then a conversion, increasing the lead to 32-19.
The SaberCats answered back after a quick tap by Kolinisau from a penalty. A dummy by Dan Paul and an offload to Vici ended with his second try. Windsor then added the conversion cutting the lead to 32-26.
JP Eloff would add a penalty kick just prior to the match ending for a 35-26 win.
Man of the Match awards went to Josua Vici of the SaberCats and JP Eloff of NOLA Gold Rugby Club.
Houston SaberCats vs. New Orleans Gold Rugby Club Squads
Houston SaberCats: 1 Jake Turnbull 2 Lindsey Stevens 3 Adam Macklin 4 Charlie Hewitt 5 Robert Meeson 6 Kyle Sumsion (C) 7 Cecil Garber 8 Matt Trouville 9 Connor Murphy 10 Sam Windsor 11 Alex Elkins12 Conor Mills 13 Osea Kolinisau 14 Josua Vici 15 Zach Pangelinan 16 Diego Maquierira 17 Estevan Florez 18 Kenneth Hepburn 19 Justin Allen 20 Chris Parker 21 Chris Coyle 22 Malacchi Esdale 23 Dan Paul + Head Coach Justin Fitzpatrick
New Orleans Gold: 1 Hubert Buydens 2 Eric Howard (VC) 3 Ben Tarr 4 Nikola Bursic 5 Matt Wirken 6 John Sullivan 7 Matt Hughston 8 Sebastian Kalm 9 Holden Yungert 10 Taylor Howden (C) 11Joeli Tikoisuva 12 JP Eloff 13 Tim Maupin 14 Bobby Johns 15 Michael Baska 16 Amro Gouda 17 Cameron Falcon 18 Derrek Van Klein 19 Myles McQuone 20 Ratu Rinakama 21 Zack Stryffeler 22 Tesimoni Tongauiha 23 Melvin Desouza + Head Coach Nate Osborne
Houston SaberCats Pre-Season Record (12-2-2)
- April 7 vs San Diego Legion (33-17) 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 (L 35-26) Preview
- April 28 vs Austin Elite 2:30 pm CDT Network: AT&T
- May 4 at San Diego Legion 7:30 pm CDT Network: CBSSN (GAME OF THE WEEK)
- May 19 at New Orleans Gold Noon CDT Network: CBSSN (GAME OF THE WEEK)
- May 26 vs. Utah Warriors 5 pm CDT Network: AT&T
- June 2 vs. Seattle Seawolves 8 pm CDT Network: CBSSN (GAME OF THE WEEK)
- June 8 at Glendale Raptors 8 pm CDT Network: AT&T
- June 23 at Utah Warriors 2 pm CDT Network: AT&T
- June 30 MLR Semi-Finals at Glendale Sat, 6 PM – 11 pm CDT Network: CBSSN
- July 7 MLR Championship at San Diego 8-10:45 pm CDT Network: CBSSN (GAME OF THE WEEK)
New Orleans Gold Pre-Season
- Jan. 3 Open Training Camp
- Jan. 20 vs. Capital Rugby Union Selects (W 68-15) Preview
- Feb. 24 at Houston SaberCats (L 30-12) Preview
- March 10 at Glendale Raptors (L 38-14) Preview
- March 24 vs Houston SaberCats (D 32-32) Preview
- March 31 vs Austin Elite (W 48-17) Preview
- April 7 at Austin Elite (W 38-10) Preview with March 31 recap
New Orleans Gold 2018 Major League Rugby Season
- April 21 At Houston Sabercats (W 35-26) Preview
- May 3 At Austin Elite 8 pm CDT Network: AT&T
- May 12 Home vs. Seattle Seawolves Noon CDT Network: Cox/AT&T
- May 19 Home vs. Houston SaberCats Noon CDT Network: CBSSN (GAME OF THE WEEK)
- May 27 At Seattle Seawolves 7 pm CDT Network: Cox/AT&T
- June 3 Home vs. Glendale Raptors 3 pm CDT Network: Cox/AT&T
- June 9 Home vs. San Diego Legion 3 pm CDT Network: COX
- June 16 At Utah Warriors 3 pm CDT Network: CBSSN (GAME OF THE WEEK)