Austin Elite Rugby is hosting the San Diego Legion at Dell Diamond in Round Rock, Texas on Friday, February 22. Kickoff is a 7 pm CST (8 pm EST) and will be broadcast on the Austin Elite Rugby Facebook page. Tickets are still available for the match.
Austin Elite Rugby is seeking their first win of the season. The team has played well but has suffered some narrow losses and enters the match 0-4. The San Diego Legion began the season with a narrow loss and has since won 3 consecutive matches. This will be the team’s first road match.
Austin Elite Rugby has made four changes to their starters with Dom Bailey at flanker with Travis Larsen playing for Canada in the Americas Rugby Championship. In the backs, the French halfback combination of Mickael Romera and Timothée Guillimin returns as Marcelo Torrealba and Rodrigo Silva is out with an injury. Sione Fangaiuiha returns to a starting role at center shifting Zinzan Elan-Puttick to fullback and Soheyl Jaoudat to the wing.
In the reserves, Peter Malcolm is expected to see match action for the second consecutive week along with Chris Schade and LaRome White in the front row. Dylan Pieterse will cover lock and back row. Somewhat usual is having four back reserves in Marcelo Torrealba at scrumhalf, Andrew Suniula at center, and Alex Faison-Donahoe and Reece Czarnecki in the back three.
Austin Elite Rugby should see Doug Fraser joining the team from international duty with Canada and hopefully will have Sebastian Kalm in the near future. Injuries and the ARC have impacted Austin Elite, like many teams, this year.
San Diego has made four changes in their starters with Psalm Wooching replacing the injured Chris Turori at flanker. Nate Augspurger gets his first start at the season at scrumhalf, while Jasa Veremalua and Kyle Rogers will start at wing and fullback, respectively.
Kapeli Pifeleti, Nick Boyer, and Mickey Te’o have been called into the USA Rugby National Team. This has also necessitated changes in the reserves. The team has Sione Tu’ihalamaka, Fakaosi Pifeleti, and Aaron Mitchell as front row replacements, with Tu’ihalamaka in the #16 jersey. It is unclear who would replace Dean Muir, should the need arise. Siaosi Mahoni is a lock and Alec Barton a flanker. Backs reserves include Tai Enosa at halfback, and Save Totovosau and Nick Lupian in the back three.
The match between Austin Elite Rugby and the San Diego Legion is an interesting one, as both teams are missing players. That, however, has been the norm for this year’s start of the MLR regular season with the ARC impacting player availability.
Austin Elite will be a dangerous side, as they could easily have had a couple of wins. The team will be motivated to provide the home fans with a win. The Legion will need to maintain possession and to minimize handling errors to continue their winning momentum. In any event, the match should be an exciting one.
Squads with Player Article Links
Austin Elite Rugby: 1 Simon Courcoul 2 Tiaan Erasmus 3 Juan Echeverria 4 Ben Mitchell (C) 5 Josh Larsen 6 Dominique Bailey 7 Rikus Zwart 8 Kyle Breytenbach 9 Mickaël Romera 10 Timothée Guillimin 11 Soheyl Jaoudat 12 Andres Vilaseca 13 Sione Fangaiuiha 14 Ratu Peni Tagive 15 Zinzan Elan-Puttick (VC) 16 Peter Malcolm 17 Chris Schade 18 LaRome White19 Dylan Pieterse 20 Marcelo Torrealba 21 Alex Faison Donahoe 22 Andrew Suniula 23 Reece Czarnecki + Head Coach Alain Hyardet
San Diego Legion: 1 Nathan Sylvia 2 Deon Muir 3 Paddy Ryan (VC) 4 Lou Stanfill 5 Keni Nasoqeqe 6 Psalm Wooching 7 Devin Short 8 Drew Gaffney 9 Nate Augspurger 10 Joe Pietersen (C) 11 Ryan Matyas 12 JP du Plessis 13 Dylan Audsley 14 Jasa Veremalua 15 Kyle Rogers 16 Sione Tu’ihalamaka 17 Faka’osi Pifeleti 18 Aaron Mitchell 19 Siaosi Mahoni 20 Alec Barton 21 Tai Enosa 22 Save Totovosau 23 Nick Lupian + Head Coach Rob Hoadley