Austin Elite Rugby will host the Glendale Raptors on Sunday, February 17 at 6 pm CST (7 pm EST) at Dell Diamond, Round Rock, Texas. Tickets are still available, but should you not be able to attend, the match is being broadcast nationally on CBSSN.
Tonight’s match is Pink Night in honor of breast cancer awareness. The team will donate 10 percent of the proceeds to fight breast cancer.
Both teams have not had the start that they wanted. Austin Elite Rugby has lost 3 consecutive close home matches to the Houston SaberCats, Utah Warriors, and to the Toronto Arrows. The Glendale Raptors have also begun their season with 2 road losses, a narrow one to the Seattle Seawolves and another to NOLA Gold.
Both teams want to gain their first win. Austin Elite Rugby could easily have started the season with a 2-1 record and the Glendale Raptors could be 1-1.
Austin Elite Rugby has made four changes to his starters, as three return from international duty at the Americas Rugby Championship and one returns following an HIA protocol. Juan Echeverria and Andres Vilaseca return at tighthead prop and at center, respectively, from playing with the Uruguay National Team. Josh Larsen returns from the Canadian National team at lock and Ratu Peni Tagive returns at wing, providing the team with another powerful attacker/defender.
In the reserves, Peter Malcolm will see his first Major League Rugby regular season action at hooker. He has recovered from a preseason injury in 2018 and the USA Rugby National Team coaching staff will be looking on, as he is part of the extended National Team squad.
The kicking accuracy has been an unusual concern this season, so changes have been made this week. Look for the team to be strong in lineout play and with Echeverria and Josh Larsen returning, the team should be improved in the scrums. The team will need to generate linebreaks against the Glendale Raptors, use tactical kicking to score after lineouts close to in-goal and to make the Raptors pay for any errors through their kicking game.
The Glendale Raptors will be without Shaun Davies, Will Magie, and Hanco Germishuys as they are rested for next week’s ARC match against Brazil.
Glendale Raptors Head Coach David Williams has made three changes to his squad with Zach Fenoglio getting his first start of the season at hooker, Kody O’Neil starting at lock and Ata Malifa will directing the attack at flyhalf. Chad Gough, Brendan Daly and Robbie Petzer move to the reserves. Malon Al-Jiboori is also an addition to the reserves.
The Raptors are an experienced team and patience team that seek opportunities to attack. They are good in set pieces and usually score from lineout opportunities from close range. The match should be a close one with the team that minimizes errors gaining the win.
Squads With Player Article Links
Austin Elite Rugby: 1 Simon Courcoul 2 Tiaan Strauss Erasmus 3 Juan Echeverria 4 Ben Mitchell (C) 5 Josh Larsen 6 Kyle Breytenbach 7 Rikus Zwart 8 Travis Larsen 9 Marcelo Torrealba 10 Rodrigo Sliva 11 Ratu Peni Tagive 12 Andres Vilaseca 13 Zinzan Elan-Puttick (VC) 14 Reece Czarnecki 15 Soheyl Jaoudat 16 Peter Malcolm 17 Chris Schade 18 Mason Pedersen 19 Dylan Pieterse 20 Dominique Bailey 21 Mickaël Romera 22 Timothée Guillimin 23 Sione Fangaiuiha + Head Coach Alain Hyardet
Glendale Raptors: 1 Blake Rogers 2 Zach Fenoglio 3 Marco Fepulea’i 4 Kody O’Neil 5 Luke White 6 Connor Cook 7 Peter Dahl 8 William Munro 9 Carlo De Nysschen 10 Ata Malifa 11 Harley Davidson 12 Chad London 13 Mika Kruse 14 John Ryberg 15 Dylan Taikato-Simpson 16 Chad Gough 17 Max Lum 18 Kelepi Fifita19 Brendan Daly 20 Malon Al-Jiboori 21 Mickey Bateman 22 Robbie Petzer 23 Nick Johnson