Houston SaberCats & Austin Elite Rugby
The Houston SaberCats hosted Austin Elite Rugby in the Battle Of Texas on April 28 at Dyer Stadium. The SaberCats emerged with a 50-38 win.
Remote streaming proved to be an issue on ESPN+ in the first half and on the Major League Rugby Facebook page for international viewers. That’s a shame, as the match when visible was a good one. The commentary by Grant Cole and Brett Mills continues to be stellar.
Next week the SaberCats travel to face the San Diego Legion on May 4. Austin Elite Rugby will look to gain their first win against New Orleans Gold on May 3.
Houston SaberCats vs. Austin Elite Rugby Recap
The SaberCats retrieved their own opening kickoff and Connor Murphy scored a try in the first minute from short range. Sam Windsor converted for a 7-0 lead.
The SaberCats pushed their lead to 14-0 after an offload by Conor Mills to Osea Kolinisau for a try and then a Windsor conversion.
Austin Elite Rugby had an opportunity to kick for points, however, they elected to kick for touch and a maul from a lineout resulted in a scrum to the SaberCats. The next opportunity to go for points had Timothee Guillimin’s kick going wide.
The SaberCats went for points in the 21st minute with Sam Windsor slotting the kick, increasing the lead to 17-0. A minute later, Matt Trouville was sent to the bin on a high tackle on Zac Mizell. Ned Hobson needed to come on as a substitute as Mizell left for a head assessment.
In the 26th minute, Austin Elite Rugby earned their first points with a try by Sione Fangaiuiha. The conversion went wide and the score was 17-5.
Austin Elite Rugby narrowed the score to 17-10 prior to the break, with an unconverted try by Hanco Germishuys in the corner that resulted from a kick by Guillimin and a chase by Germishuys.
The Houston SaberCats stole an Austin Elite Rugby lineout and Kyle Sumsion took the ball into midfield. Lindsey Stevens finished the attack with a try from close range. Windsor added the conversion pushing the score to 24-10.
A penalty by the SaberCats for not releasing resulted in a Timothée Guillimin kick with the 10-meter line that was short. A high ball by Timothée Guillimin went into the hands of Osea Kolinisau, who stepped and was off to the races, offloading to Josua Vici just prior to the line for a try and a conversion by Windsor to lead 31-10.
The SaberCats had a strong break by Sumsion and quick ball by Murphy to Windsor, who cross kicked to Vici and Justin Allen took the offload in for a try and a 36-10 lead. The kick by Windsor was low.
The SaberCAts attacked again from a kick ahead by Kolinisau. An early push in a 5-meter scrum by the SaberCats resulted in Austin Elite clearance kick to midfield. Another penalty for a side entry had Guillimin kicking for touch for a lineout turned into a maul. Hodson moved the ball to the 5-meter line and Sione Fangaiuiha scored his second try. After Guillimin’s conversion, the score was 36-17.
Austin Elite Rugby’s Timothée Guillimin had two breaks with a dummy on the second one leading to a try and then a conversion, to narrow the lead to 36-24.
Austin Elite Rugby defense held the SaberCats for several minutes with forward drives before Sam Windsor went in for a try and a conversion, increasing the lead to 43-24. This was an important try, as it broke the momentum that had swung in Austin Elite’s favor.
The first touch of the ball by Joey Iosefa, who played with the New England Patriots, resulted in a 35-meter try. Sam Windsor again slotted the conversion for a 50-24 lead.
Austin Elite Rugby gathered the lineout and an offload by Sione Fangaiuiha to Alex Faison-Donahoe resulted in a try in the corner. Guillimin slotted the conversion and the score was 50-31.
A SaberCats cross kick by Sam Windsor to Malacchi Esdale was taken into touch in-goal. Austin Elite Rugby took the 5-meter scrum and Guillimin did a chip and then a kick ahead. Josua Vici received a yellow card for not retreating from the penalty. Knute O’Donnell went in for the final try of the match and Guillimin slotted the kick for a final of 50-38 to the SaberCats.
Sam Windsor was named Man of the Match for the SaberCats.
The Houston SaberCats were able to maintain possession in stringing together multiple phases and maintaining a physical presence in the match. The team stopped the momentum of Austin Elite Rugby after they scored two second-half tries to expand their lead. Austin Elite Rugby maintained their attack in the second half and this resulted in two additional tries.
The Houston SaberCats backline and the strong forward drives in the set pieces were excellent. The lineouts throws still are a work in progress.
Austin Elite Rugby had some strong performances by their back row of Breytenbach, Deacon and Germishuys, halfbacks Walsh and Guillimin and wings Sione Fangaiuiha and Reece Czarnecki.
The last 30 minutes of the match, the benches were cleared and this resulted in some excellent attacking rugby by both sides.
Houston SaberCats & Austin Elite Rugby Squads
Houston SaberCats: 1 Estevan Florez 2 Lindsey Stevens 3 Adam Macklin 4 Charlie Hewitt 5 Justin Allen 6 Kyle Sumsion (C) 7 Chris Coyle 8 Matt Trouville 9 Connor Murphy 10 Sam Windsor 11 Alex Elkins 12 Conor Mills 13 Malacchi Esdale14 Josua Vici 15 Osea Kolinisau 16 Diego Maquierira 17 Kenneth Hepburn 18 Jack Riley 19 Robert Meeson 20 Pago Haini 21 Cecil Garber 22 Dan Paul 23 Joey Iosefa + Head Coach Justin Fitzpatrick
Austin Elite: 1 Chris Schade 2 Mike Brown 3 Mason Pedersen 4 Ben Mitchell 5 Victor Comptat 6 Kyle Breytenbach 7 Ross Deacon 8 Hanco Germishuys 9 Marcus Walsh 10 Timothée Guillimin 11Sione Fangaiuiha 12 Andrew Suniula 13 Sani Taylor 14 Reece Czarnecki 15 Zac Mizell 16 David LeMasters 17 Siaosi Finau 18 Robert Drummond 19 Todd Clever 20 Ned Hodson 21 Knute O’Donnell 22 Alex Faison-Donahoe 23 Pita Naruma + Head Coach Alain Hyardet
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 (W 50-38) Preview
- 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)
Austin Elite Rugby Pre-season Schedule
- March 25 vs. San Diego Legion (L 32-24) Preview
- March 31 at New Orleans Gold (L 48-17) Preview
- April 7 vs. New Orleans Gold (L 38-10) Preview with March 31 recap
Austin Elite Rugby 2018 Major League Rugby Schedule
- April 21 at Glendale Raptors (L 41-26) Preview CBSSN (GAME OF THE WEEK)
- April 28 at Houston SaberCats (L 50-38) Preview CDT Network: AT&T
- May 3 vs. New Orleans Gold 8 pm CDT Network: AT&T
- May 11 at Utah Warriors 8 pm CDT Network: CBSSN (GAME OF THE WEEK)
- May 25 v. San Diego Legion 8 pm CDT Network: CBSSN (GAME OF THE WEEK)
- June 1 vs. Utah Warriors 8 pm CDT Network: AT&T
- June 9 vs. Seattle Seawolves 8 pm CDT Network: CBSSN (GAME OF THE WEEK)
- June 17 at San Diego Legion 7 pm CDT Local Network: Cox/AT&T