Utah Warriors Comeback Win Over Houston SaberCats Secures Playoffs

Utah Warriors & Houston SaberCats

The Utah Warriors concluded their Major League Rugby regular season against the Houston SaberCats coming back to win 31-27. With the win, the Warriors eliminated Austin Elite Rugby from the playoffs with the Warriors advancing to the playoffs next Saturday at Infinity Park in Glendale, Colorado.

The Warriors opponent will not be known until later this evening. The Warriors have 22 points in the standings with the San Diego Legion meeting the undefeated Glendale Raptors later this evening. The Warriors will claim third place with a Legion loss should they not secure two bonus points. A Legion win would earn the Legion third place.

The third place team will play the Seattle Seawolves, while the fourth place team meets the Glendale Raptors.

Scoring Recap

The Utah Warriors struck first with a try by Tonata Lauti giving the team a 7-0 lead after the conversion by Linehan. The SaberCats answered back with a try by Cecil Garber, who was injured while scoring. After the conversion by Sam Windsor, Garber was replaced by Robert Meeson.

Windsor then broke the tie slotting a penalty kick for the SaberCats to take a 10-7 lead. The Warriors answered back with a try by captain Saia Uhila to take a 12-10 lead. The SaberCats added another converted try in the last minute by Sam Windsor for a 17-12 lead at the break.

In this seesaw battle, the Warriors struck first again in the half with a converted try, reclaiming a 19-17 lead. That was short lived as Windsor slotted a penalty kick for a SaberCats 20-19 lead with 20 minutes remaining.

The SaberCats put a little distance between the teams after an Osea Kolinisau try and a Windsor conversion to lead 27-19. This would require two scores for a Warriors win.

Alex Tucci closed the gap with a break up the middle for a try and after the conversion, the Warriors were within one point of the lead, 27-26.

A break down the wide channel by Fetu’u Vainikolo and an offload to Tonata resulted in a try to seal the win for Utah 31-27. Although the SaberCats would attack again reaching the Warriors 22-meters, the team was not able to add points.

With the win, the Warriors advanced to the Major League Rugby playoffs in Glendale, Colorado on June 30. Pending the outcome of the San Diego Legion match against the Glendale Raptors later tonight, the team will know whether they are the 3rd or 4th seed.

For the SaberCats, Lindsey Stevens was named Man of the Match.

Utah Warriors & Houston SaberCats Squads

Utah Warriors: 1 Maka Tameilau, 2 Lote Tu’ipulotu, 3 Angus MacLellan, 4 John Cullen, 5 Saia Uhila (C), 6 Lance Williams, 7 Ara Elkington, 8 David Tameilau, 9 Joseph Nicholls, 10 Jonny Linehan, 11 Fetu’u Vainikolo, 12 AJ Tu’ineau, 13 Iniki Fa’amausili, 14 Tonata Lauti, 15 Don Pati 16 Ray Forrester, 17 Alex Tucci, 18 Les Soloai, 19 Kenny Scott, 20 Tino Mafi, 21 Josh Anderson, 22 Vernon Ale, 23 Ben Nicholls + Head Coach Alf Daniels

Houston SaberCats: 1 Jamie Dever, 2 Lindsey Stevens, 3 Adam Macklin, 4 Charlie Hewitt, 5 Matt Trouville, 6 Chris Coyle, 7 Cecil Garber, 8 Kyle Sumsion (C), 9 Connor Murphy, 10 Sam Windsor, 11 Malacchi Esdale, 12 Conor Mills, 13 Osea Kolinisau, 14 Alex Elkins, 15 Zach Pangelinan16 Gabe Romero, 17 Petey Hepburn, 18 Jack Riley, 19 Robert Meeson, 20 Chris Parker, 21 Chris Slater, 22 Joey Iosefa, 23 Dan Paul

Utah Warriors Pre-season

Utah Warriors 2018 Major League Rugby Season

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

Houston SaberCats 2018 Major League Rugby Schedule

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North American Rugby News With A USA Slant