The Houston SaberCats host the Glendale Raptors in their final preseason match on Saturday, January 19 at Constellation Field in Sugar Land, Texas. Kickoff is at 7 pm CT and the match will not be streamed. Check Twitter accounts for updates from both teams.
The Houston SaberCats are 2-1 in preseason matches with wins over the Austin Blacks and the Dallas Reds and a narrow 14-10 loss last week to Austin Elite Rugby. The Glendale Raptors played a Fall exhibition season and then won 38-31 last Sunday against the San Diego Legion.
The Houston SaberCats will open their Major League Rugby regular season at home on January 26 at 7 pm CT against Austin Elite Rugby at Dell Diamond at Round Rock, Texas. The Glendale Raptors will travel to face the Seattle Seawolves on Sunday, January 27 at Starfire Stadium in Seattle at 7:30 pm PT.
The Houston SaberCats have several new players from last year. Pat O’Toole played for the San Diego Legion last season at hooker and before that at Connacht Rugby. Charlie Connolly played tighthead prop with Trinity College and Leinster. Luke Beauchamp played lock with Brothers Premier Rugby in Australia. Santiago Arata is an Uruguay National Team scrumhalf. Joe Kelly is a Collegiate and High School All-American who played at Penn State, Greenwich HS, as well as club rugby for NYAC and West Houston Lions.
The reserves include Liam Scott Andrews at hooker, who plays for West Houston/SaberCats Academy. He also has played football at Lindenwood University, and rugby for the St Louis Rogues, at the Stellenbosch Rugby Academy, Heldenberg and Stoke Rugby Clubs in South Africa and for the Dubai Exiles. Matt Almeida, who is a 315 lb prop, previously played with the San Jose Seahawks and the South Valley Bucks. Ayron Schramm, a lock, played for the Natal Sharks, Jersey Reds and for the German National team. Irving Carcamo is a center who played with Charlotte, USA Rugby South, and the West Houston Lions/SaberCats Academy. Rodrick Waters is a wing and played at Western State Colorado University and for the West Houston Lions/SaberCats Academy.
Other forward starters include Jamie Dever who played for Connacht, Matt Trouville, who is the Academy Director and has played with the Eagles, and Chris Coyle, a capped Eagles 7s player. Cecil Garber played with the Norfolk Blues, San Deigo Breakers and the Seattle Saracens, and Alex Elkins, who transitioned this season to back row from playing wing with the team, played professionally with the Ohio Aviators and this Fall with the West Houston Lions.
In the backs, Sam Windsor is the Backs coach and flyhalf and previously played for Ulster. Conor Mills is a former USA Collegiate All-American who played for Woodlands, Houston Athletic and for the Lonestar Rugby Club. Osea Kolinisau was the captain of the Fiji 7s and the Team Fiji Gold Medalists. Josua Vici also played with the Fiji 7s team. Rounding out the starters in the USA Under 20s player Kieran Farmer, who played for the Woodlands and during the Fall for the Waterboys at the Dubai 7s and the Barbados 7s. Kieran normally plays flyhalf and is gaining his first MLR start at fullback.
Returning SaberCats in the reserves include former Collegiate All-American back row Chris Parker, USA Selects prop Jake Turnbull, and former London Irish scrumhalf, Connor Murphy.
Thoughts are with Zach Pangelinan, whose father is recovering from surgery.
The Glendale Raptors are also fine-tuning their squad with a front row of Blake Rogers, who played of the University of Colorado, Chad Gough, a Collegiate All-American from the University of Utah, and Maco Fepulea’i, who played for Ponsonby and Auckland. The locks include original Raptor Casey Rock who is paired with Kody O’Neil, who played for Ponsonby and the Seattle Saracens. In the back row is Eagle and San Francisco Golden Gate captain Brendan Daly, Eagle Hanco Gemishuys, and former Clemson and Collegiate All-American Jason Damm.
In the backs in an Eagle halfback combination of captain Shaun Davies and Will Magie. The centers are former Eagle Chad London and the USA Selects player Mika Kruse, who played for the Eagles against the Maori All-Blacks. The back three include Life University Collegiate All-American Harley Davidson, John Ryberg, who played at the University of Iowa, and Dylan Taikato-Simpson, who recently joined the club from Waikato and who has professionally in Australia, New Zealand, Romania, Scotland, and Italy.
The reserves include front row players Luke White, who played in the Shute Shield in Australia and is the U.S. eligible, Max Lum, who played at Wheeling Jesuit and at Southbridge Rugby in New Zealand, and the USA Selects prop Kelepi Fifita.
William Munro just joined the club this week. He is an experienced lock from Australia, who played for Randwick in the Shute Shield, the University of Sydney, the Australian Barbarians, Hong Kong Football Club, and for the Classic Wallabies at the Hong Kong 10s.
Rounding out the reserves are Dwayne Pienaar, a Golden Lions age-grade flanker, who also played for Roodepoort. Carlo De Nysschen is a scrumhalf, who played age-grade rugby with the Free State Cheetahs. Robbie Petzer plays flyhalf and previously played with the Griffons and the Free State Cheetahs. Nick Johnson has played for several years with the Raptors and previously with Santa Clara University.
Read more about the players by clicking on their name below.
Houston SaberCats: 1 Jamie Dever 2 Pat O’Toole 3 Charlie Connolly 4 Luke Beauchamp 5 Matt Trouville 6 Chris Coyle 7 Cecil Garber 8 Alex Elkins 9 Santiago Arata 10 Sam Windsor 11 Joe Kelly 12 Conor Mills 13 Osea Kolinisau 14 Joshua Vici 15 Kieran Farmer 16 Liam Scott Andrews 17 Jake Turnbull 18 Matt Almeida 19 Chris Parker 20 Ayron Schramm 21 Connor Murphy 22 Irving Caramo 23 Rodrick Waters + Head Coach Justin Fitzpatrick, Defense Coach Neil Kelly, Backs Coach Sam Windsor (See #10), Skills Coach Paul Emerick
Glendale Raptors: 1 Blake Rogers 2 Chad Gough 3 Marco Fepulea’i 4 Kody O’Neil 5 Casey Rock 6 Brendan Daly 7 Hanco Germishuys 8 Jason Damm 9 Shaun Davies (C) 10 Will Magie 11 Harley Davidson 12 Chad London13 Mika Kruse 14 John Ryberg 15 Dylan Taikato-Simpson 16 Luke White 17 Max Lum 18 Kelepi Fifita 19 William Munro 20 Dwayne Pienaar 21 Carlo De Nysschen 22 Robbie Petzer 23 Nick Johnson