Austin Elite Rugby & San Diego Legion
Austin Elite Rugby will face San Diego Legion on Friday, May 25th at 8 pm CDT (9 pm EDT) at Round Rock Multipurpose Complex. Tickets are available for the match. For those who cannot be there in person, the match is being shown nationally on CBS Sports Network as the Game of the Week.
This is a critical time for both teams. A win by Austin Elite Rugby could jump-start the team by moving up the Major League Rugby standings. They will need to have a win streak to contend for the playoffs, so the match against the Legion is the first step. The San Diego currently is in fourth place in the Major League Rugby standings and need a win to stay in the top four. With only three games remaining after this week, both teams cannot leave anything to chance, so a win is vital.
The USA Men’s Eagles also open camp on Sunday. Hanco Germishuys is part of the squad for Austin Elite Rugby. San Diego has sevens players selected to the 31 man squad. Six of the players will play in the match against Austin Elite Rugby with only Tony Lamborne, not on the match day roster. Siaosi Mahoni, Cam Dolan, Nate Augspurger, Ben Cima, Ryan Matyas and Dylan Audsley are part of the squad. Each of these players could miss match time in June when they are involved with the Eagles, so this match takes on even more important for the teams.
Austin Elite Rugby
Head Coach Alain Hyardet has made four changes and three positional changes to his starters that lost to the Utah Warriors on May 11. Siaosi Finau and Paddy Ryan will be at loosehead and tighthead prop, respectively. Chris Schade moves from loosehead prop to hooker. Pedrie Wannenburg will be at No. 8, shifting Kyle Breytenbach to flanker. Locks Ben Mitchell and Victor Comptat and the Major League Rugby leading try scorer, Hanco Germishuys complete the forwards.
In the backs, Roland Suniula returns at outside center, shifting Zinzan Elan-Puttick to fullback. He pairs with his brother Andrew, the team’s captain, at center. The halfbacks are Marcus Walsh and Timothée Guillimin, who is the MLR third-leading scorer. The back three will have Sani Taylor and Sione Fangaiuiha at wing and Zinzan Elan-Puttick at fullback.
The team will have Paddy Ryan in the lineup, as he returns from an injury. Having an additional Eagle and a Springbok, in Pedrie Wannenburg, in the lineup are great additions.
Waiting to come on as replacements are a front row of Mike Brown at hooker, Robert Drummond at loosehead prop and Mason Pedersen at tighthead prop. Add another Eagle in Todd Clever and an Irish and RUNY professional in Ross Deacon at flanker to provide the forwards with fresh legs. Backs include Knute O’Donnell at scrumhalf, Zac Mizell at fullback, and Ned Hodson at center.
San Diego Legion
The San Diego Legion enjoyed a bye week and head coach Rob Hoadley has made two changes to his starters with Siaosi Mahoni starting at lock in place of Albert Harmon and Taku Ngwenya moving back to wing with Nate Augspurger moving back to scrumhalf.
In the reserves, Faka’osi Pifeleti has been added to the team. He is a Tonga international. With Faitala Talapusi off to the London Sevens, Cody Mephy joins the team as a replacement.
The San Deigo Legion showed with Dolph Botha at tighthead prop and Siaosi Mahoni at lock behind him, that the scrum is solid. Sioane Tu’ihalmaka is at loosehead and Pat Blair at hooker. Cam Dolan is a force in the lineouts and plays No. 8. Joining Mahoni at lock is Lance Lamprecht, with Chris Turori and Devin Short at flanker.
In the backs captain, Nate Augspurger will use a quick ball to create attacks by the backs. He also utilizes box kicks and snipes at the 9-channel. Ben Cima kicking prowess is well known, but at times he kicks away possession. When he is performing well, however, his tactical kicks place the opposing team under pressure. JP du Plessis and Anthony Salaber have been key players in the centers, Ryan Matyas and Taku Ngwenya are explosive runners and are also excellent defenders. Add fullback Dylan Audsley to the mix and the team seeks to spread the field from side to side playing expansive rugby.
What will happen with the heat in Texas and when the replacements come into the match? Gil Covey is a hooker with Tony Purpura and Faka’osi Pifeleti at prop. Derrick Broussard and Drew Gaffney are flankers. Nick Boyer is a scrumhalf, Tadhg Leader a flyhalf and Cody Melphy a center or a wing.
The Legion has experienced halfbacks when the time arises. Austin ELite Rugby appears to have a more experienced group of reserves. The Legion will need to put points on the board early to win against Austin Elite Rugby.
Austin Elite Rugby & San Diego Legion Squads
Austin Elite: 1 Siaosi Finau 2 Chris Schade 3 Paddy Ryan 4 Ben Mitchell 5 Victor Comptat 6 Kyle Breytenbach 7 Hanco Germishuys 8 Pedrie Wannenburg 9 Marcus Walsh 10 Timothée Guillimin 11 Sani Taylor 12 Andrew Suniula 13 Roland Suniula 14 Sione Fangaiuiha 15 Zinzan Elan-Puttick 16 Mike Brown 17 Mason Pedersen 18 Robert Drummond 19 Todd Clever 20 Ross Deacon 21 Knute O’Donnell 22 Ned Hodson 23 Zac Mizell + Head Coach Alain Hyardet (Replacement #s not identified)
San Diego Legion: 1 Sione Tu’ihalamaka 2 Pat Blair 3 Rudolph Botha 4 Lance Lamprecht 5 Siaosi Mahoni 6 Chris Turori 7 Devin Short 8 Cam Dolan (VC) 9 Nate Augspurger (C) 10 Ben Cima 11 Ryan Matyas 12 JP du Plessis 13 Anthony Salaber 14 Taku Ngwenya 15 Dylan Audsley 16 Gil Covey 17 Tony Purpura 18 Faka’osi Pifeleti 19 Derrick Broussard 20 Drew Gaffney 21 Nick Boyer 22 Tadhg Leader 23 Cody Melphy + Head Coach Rob Hoadley
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 AT&T
- May 3 vs. New Orleans Gold (W 30-17) Preview AT&T
- May 11 at Utah Warriors (L 42-21) Preview 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
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 Cox/AT&T
- April 29 vs. Utah Warriors (W 31-24) Preview Cox/AT&T
- May 4 vs. Houston SaberCats (W 35-32) Preview CBSSN (GAME OF THE WEEK)
- May 13 at Glendale Raptors (L 31-27) Preview 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
Network: CBSSN (GAME OF THE WEEK)
- 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)