San Diego Legion vs. Houston SaberCats MLR Preview

San Diego Legion & Houston SaberCats

The San Diego Legion face the Houston SaberCats at Torero Stadium on Friday, May 4 for the Major League Rugby ‘Game of the Week’. The broadcast will begin at 5 p.m. PT. Gates will open at 4:30 p.m., so plan to arrive early and secure a good spot in the stands. Tickets may be purchased at or at the USD Box Office.

You can throw out the pre-season result where the SaberCats beat the Legion 33-17. The Legion’s squad has had a number of changes since then.

San Diego Legion

The San Diego Legion seek to utilize their outstanding backline to spread the ball from side to side and to exploit any seams they might find. Teams will be looking to test the Legion scrum until the team is no longer on their back foot. The team has been making improvements in this area.

The Legion scrum will see one change with South African Rudolph Botha starting at tighthead prop. That is the only change head coach Rob Hoadley has made to the starters from last week’s 31-24 win over the Utah Warriors.

In the reserves Nathan Sylvia has joined the team from San Francisco Golden Gate at tighthead prop. This allows Eagle Tony Purpura to play his preferred loosehead prop position. Malon Al-Jiboori is also back in the squad after playing with the Eagles 7s in Singapore.

Houston SaberCats

The Houston SaberCats are 1-1 and look to carry the momentum from a pre-season 33-17 win over the Legion into the regular season match at Torero Stadium.

Head Coach Justin Fitzpatrick has made four changes to the squad from last week’s win over Austin Elite Rugby. Three of the changes are in the forwards with Jake Turnbull, Robert Meeson, and Cecil Garber returning to start at prop, lock, and flanker, respectively. Zach Pangelinan will start at fullback.

In the reserves, Joey Iosefa, who played football for the University of Hawaii and then was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, before moving to the New England Patriots at fullback, scored a try last week coming on as a replacement.

The SaberCats have one of the better scrummaging teams and are very mobile in defense and to the breakdown. The team looks to utilize quick ball moving it wide to take advantage of its speed on the wing.

Captain Kyle Sumsion gets a breather as a replacement this week and josua Vici gets his first rest of the season. Chris Slater returns to the team as a reserve.


San Diego Legion & Houston SaberCats Squads

San Diego Legion: 1 Sione Tu’ihalamaka 2 Pat Blair 3 Rudolph Botha 4 Siaosi Mahoni 5 Albert ‘Jay’ Harmon 6 Chris Turori 7 Devin Short 8 Cam Dolan (VC) 9 Nate Augspurger (C) 10 Tadhg Leader 11 Ryan Matyas 12 JP du Plessis 13 Anthony Salaber 14 Taku Ngwenya 15 Dylan Audsley 16 Gil Covey 17 Tony Purpura 18 Nathan Sylvia 19 Derrick Broussard 20 Malon Al-Jiboori 21 Nick Boyer 22 Ben Cima 23 Naima Fuala’au + Head Coach Rob Hoadley

Houston SaberCats: 1 Jake Turnbull 2 Lindsey Stevens  3 Adam Macklin 4 Robert Meeson 5 Charlie Hewitt 6 Chris Coyle 7 Cecil Garber 8 Matt Trouville 9 Connor Murphy 10 Sam Windsor 11 Alex Elkins 12 Conor Mills 13 Osea Kolinisau14 Malacchi Esdale 15 Zach Pangelinan 16 Diego Maquierira 17  Kenneth Hepburn 18 Jack Riley 19 Justin Allen 20 Kyle Sumsion 21 Pago Haini  22 Chris Slater  23 Joey Iosefa + Head Coach Justin Fitzpatrick

San Diego Legion Pre-season Record (1-1)

San Diego Legion 2018 Major League Rugby Schedule

  • April 22 at Seattle Seawolves (L 39-23) Preview Network: Cox/AT&T
  • April 29 vs. Utah Warriors (W 31-24) Preview 4 pm PDT Network: Cox/AT&T
  • May 4 vs. Houston SaberCats Preview 5:30 pm PDT Network: CBSSN (GAME OF THE WEEK)
  • May 13 at Glendale Raptors 5 pm PDT Network: Cox/AT&T
  • May 26 at Austin Elite 6 pm PDT Network: CBSSN (GAME OF THE WEEK)
  • June 9 at New Orleans Gold 1 pm PDT Network: COX
  • June 17 vs. Austin Elite 5 pm PDT Network: Cox/AT&T
  • June 23  vs. Glendale Raptors 7 pm PDT
  • June 30 MLR Semi-Finals at Glendale Sat, 5-10 pm PDT Network: CBSSN
  • July 7 MLR Championship at San Diego 7-9:45 pm PDT Network: CBSSN (GAME OF THE WEEK)

Houston SaberCats Pre-Season Record (12-2-2)

Houston SaberCats 2018 Major League Rugby Schedule

  • April 21 vs New Orleans Gold (L 35-26) Preview
  • April 28 vs Austin Elite Preview 2:30 pm CDT Network: AT&T
  • May 4 at San Diego Legion Preview 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)

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North American Rugby News With A USA Slant