Houston SaberCats & Austin Blacks
Houston SaberCats head coach Justin Fitzpatrick believes that having exhibition season matches prepares the team for the regular season. With Major League Rugby expanding to a 16 game season for 2019, it is critical that players that can contribute for even a game or two be evaluated.
An exhibition season match against an outstanding Division 1 club team like the Austin Blacks prepares both teams for their respective seasons. The scoreline is not the only consideration, as developing timing and using different player combinations help both the players and the coaches in their preparation.
The Houston SaberCats left Burr Field in Austin with a 78-12 win. Seven West Houston Lions were selected for the SaberCats squad and some will be bound to work their way into the SaberCats MLR squad. Austin Blacks, Art Reyes was part of the SaberCats squad last year and Antonio Winn, Austin Elite Rugby. Through playing quality teams, pathways may open for other promising players to join MLR teams.
Match Scoring Recap
The match recap is based on the Twitter accounts, as it was the only source readily available. The Houston SaberCats jumped out to a 47-0 lead before the Austin Blacks scored two consecutive tries to narrow the score to 47-12. The SaberCats added four more tries to claim a 78-12 win.
The SaberCats Connor Murphy used a quick tap to swing Josua Vici for a 60-meter try. Malacchi Esdale Sped through a huge gap and the score was 12-0. Alex Elkins, who has moved from wing to back row, had a line break and fed Cecil Garber for a try (19-0). Codi Jones and Osea Kolinisau found gaps and Josua Vici finished with a try and a conversion by Zach Pangelinan (26-0).
Then it was Alex Elkins turn as he scored from a 5-meter scrum and he added a second try gathering an Austin Blacks clearance kick and running it in for a try (40-0). Connor Murphy then took a quick tap for a try, pushing the lead to 47-0.
The Austin Blacks got on the scoreboard after a 5-meter lineout with several picks and goes, leading to a Ryan Cooper try (47-5). The Blacks added a second try from a lineout turned into a maul. That led to a linebreak by No. 8 Hayden Johnson and a try by scrumhalf Justin Brown (47-12).
Houston then struck back with a try by Roderick Waters, and another by Chris Coyle after a restart recovery by Pat O’Toole (62-12). Darell Williams added a try and Enrique Montano the conversion. Elkins finished with a hat trick to win 78-12.
Zach Pangelinan and Enrique Montano kicked all the conversions for the SabeCats.
Austin Blacks: 1 Samuel Johnson II 2 Jonathan Holden 3 Eric Martinez 4 Ty Terrazone 5 Travis Cozby 6 Derek Watson 7 Timmy Howard 8 Hayden Johnson 9 Justin Brown 10 Brendan Monahan 11 Matthew Radzavich 12 Teddy Terezis 13 Micheal P Medina 14 Preston Weigel 15 Antonio Winn 16 Tyler Hawkins 17 Jared Elmore 18 Onassis Gyimah 19 Ryan Cooper 20 Ryan Rackley 21 Levi Veronica Kereti 22 Jamelle Ray Shaw 23 Vince Dutton 24 Art Reyes 25 Sam Rooke 26 Claude Liney
Houston SabeCats: 1. Jake Turnbull 2. Pat O’Toole 3. Codi Jones 4. Jackson Slater 5. Matt Trouville 6. Chris Coyle 7. Cecil Garber 8. Alex Elkins 9. Connor Murphy 10. Zach Pangelinan 11. Malacchi Esdale 12. Max Tacket 13. Osea Kolinisau 14. Josua Vici 15. Solo Kepa 16. Gabe Romeo 17. Liam Andrews18. Irving Cruz 19. Enrique Montano 20. Irving Carcamo 21. Conor Mills 22. Darell Williams 23. Rodrick Waters
DJCoil Rugby articles by Doug Coil are also available on Facebook. Other Social Media sites to follow or subscribe include Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube for interviews.