New Orleans Gold vs. Houston SaberCats MLR Preview

New Orleans Gold & Houston SaberCats

Update May 19, 2018: Paul Mullen is the tighthead prop and Adam Macklin #17.

The New Orleans Gold Rugby Club will meet the Houston SaberCats for the fourth time this year. In the pre-season, the SaberCats won one match and the other was a draw. The first regular season match went to NOLA Gold and the return fixture will be on Saturday, May 19th at Archbishop Shaw Stadium at 3 pm local (4 pm EDT). The match will be the CBS Sports Network Game of the Week. It will also be streamed internationally on the Major League Rugby Facebook page.

New Orleans Gold

Head Coach Nate Osborne has kept his starters in tack from last week’s narrow 31-29 loss to the Seattle Seawolves. There are three changes in the reserves, as back rows Brennan Falcon and Chad Joseph, and wing Joey Sok are part of the squad. Falcon, who just graduated from LSU, joins his brother Cameron on the team. Joseph is a new addition to the team. he joins a number of former Ohio Aviators on the squad.

NOLA Gold began the season with a 35-26 win against the SaberCats, and then lost 30-17 to Austin Elite Rugby before last week’s home opener loss to the Seattle Seawolves.

The team has a strong core group of players, but players have been added to increase the depth of the squad. The forwards match up well against each other and the battle should be in the backs. Infractions will need to be minimized as kicking could be the difference in the match.

Nikola Bursic was the NOLA Gold Man of the Match last week, but Matt Hughston has a new claim to fame,  he is the first Major League Rugby player to have a song about him. It is sung to the Billy Ray Cyrus song, Achy Breaky Heart.

  • He’s got a stache
  • He’s got a Mullet
  • I just don’t think you understand
  • He’s gonna get her done
  • His name is Matt Hughston
  • We’ve got a Heartbreaker #7

New Orleans is known as a fun city, and the fans last week have taken to the team and the festivities will continue on Saturday at Archbishop Shaw Stadium.

Houston SaberCats

Head Coach Justin Fitzpatrick has made two changes to his starters from the 35-32 last-second loss to the San Diego Legion. Kyle Sumsion will captain the side at flanker, with Cecil Garber moving to the reserves. Paul Mullen, who selected to the Eagles June test squad, became Major League Rugby eligible and will be at tighthead prop. Chris Parker and Dan Paul also join the reserves.

The Houston SaberCats enjoyed a 12-2-2 pre-season and are 1-2 during the regular season with narrow losses to both the San Diego Legion two weeks ago and a 35-26 loss to the New Orleans Gold on opening day, April 21. The team has won the battle of Texas, defeating Austin Elite Rugby 50-38.

The match against NOLA Gold away pits two teams that know each other well. A win for either team could put that team in contention for the playoffs, while the losing team will face an uphill battle.

The SaberCats, are a very strong scrummaging team, but despite height advantages in the lineout, lineout throws have been somewhat inconsistent. The backs look to distribute the ball wide in the attack. On defense, the teams use quick line speed to disrupt the flow of the opposition.

New Orleans Gold & Houston SaberCats Squads

New Orleans Gold: 1 Hubert Buydens 2 Eric Howard (VC) 3 Ben Tarr 4 Nikola Bursic 5 Matt Wirken 6 Tesimoni Tongauiha 7 Matt Hughston 8 John Sullivan 9 Holden Yungert 10 Ratu Rinakama 11Joeli Tikoisuva 12  Taylor Howden (C) 13 Zack Stryffeler 14 Bobby Johns 15 Michael Baska 16 Amro Gouda 17 Cameron Falcon 18 Derrek Van Klein19 Billy Stewart 20 Brennan Falcon 21 Chad Joseph 22 Tevita Makasini  23 Joey Sok + Head Coach Nate Osborne

Houston SaberCats: 1 Jake Turnbull 2 Lindsey Stevens  3 Paul Mullen 4 Robert Meeson 5 Charlie Hewitt 6 Kyle Sumsion (c) 7 Chris Coyle 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 Adam Macklin 18 Jack Riley 19 Justin Allen 20 Chris Parker 21 Cecil Garber 22 Chris Slater 23 Dan Paul + Head Coach Justin Fitzpatrick

New Orleans Gold Pre-Season

New Orleans Gold 2018 Major League Rugby Season

  • April 21 At Houston Sabercats (W 35-26) Preview
  • May 3 At Austin Elite (L30-17) Preview
  • May 12 Home vs. Seattle Seawolves (L 31-29) Preview
  • 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)

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 (W 50-38) Preview  AT&T
  • May 4 at San Diego Legion (L 35-32) Preview 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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