The Houston SaberCats will host Rugby United New York on Saturday, March 2, 2019, at Constellation Field. Kickoff is at 7 pm CST (8 pm EST) with tickets still available. For those who can’t attend, the match may be viewed on the SaberCats Facebook page, on Kube, and on SNY.
The SaberCats would like you to “Bring your furry mates 🐶🐱 to the match for Bark in the Park. The first 1000 through the gate receive a free Buffalo Specialties Sabercats pet food scooper! There will be pet-friendly vendors giving away treats, and a halftime performance by The Houston Canine Frisbee Disc Club. Get there early to adopt a dog from Houston SPCA and Houston Pets Alive.
Houston SaberCats head Coach Justin Fitzpatrick has made three changes in his starters with Charlie Connolly, Conor Mills, and Josua Vici returning as starters at tighthead prop, inside center and at wing, respectively. Jamie Dever switches to loosehead prop. There are also three changes in the reserves as Matt Almeida, Joe Kelly, and Chad Joseph, who could debut for the SaberCats are at tighthead prop, wing, and back row, respectively.
The SaberCats are missing four Uruguay National team starters in Mateo Sanguinetti, Diego Magno, Alejandro Nieto, and Santiago Arata. The team has also had several injuries, which have necessitated adding players to the squad.
The SaberCats enter the match with a 1-2 record, but their record could easily be reversed. They face a challenging match against Rugby United New York, who was undefeated until last week’s road loss to the Seattle Seawolves.
The SaberCats (81) and RUNY (80) are relatively even in scoring points with RUNY having an edge in tries 8 to 5. RUNY also have more line breaks but concede more penalties. With the second leading kicker of penalty goals in Sam Windsor, RUNY will need to be careful about minimizing errors. RUNY does have their own very capable kicker in Cathal Marsh.
Rugby United New York plays expansive rugby and utilizes quick ball to create line breaks. Mike Tolkin has made two changes in his starters with Dylan Fawsitt returning from the Eagles at hooker and Matt Hughston moving to flanker. There are also three position changes, as Mark O’Keeffe and Ben Foden moving to their more natural positions at center and fullback, respectively and Chris Mattina shifting to the wing, where he also started in week one.
In the reserves, Chris Sullivan should make his 2019 debut at tighthead and Matt Wirken returns to the squad at flanker.
Expect both teams to try to play expansive rugby, to utilize tactical kicking and to attack from lineouts from close range. The SaberCats may try to make RUNY pay early with kicks at goal from Sam Windsor, while RUNY is more likely to kick for territory and attempt to score tries. That strategy could change if either team gets an early lead.
The fans should be entertained by the match and see quality rugby from both sides.
Squads with Player Article Links
Houston SaberCats: 1 Jamie Dever 2 Pat O’Toole 3 Charlie Connolly 4 Robert Meeson 5 Matt Trouville (C) 6 Luke Beauchamp 7 Chris Coyle 8 Ayron Schramm 9 Connor Murphy 10 Sam Windsor 11 Malacchi Esdale 12 Conor Mills 13 Osea Kolinisau 14 Josua Vici 15 Zach Pangelinan 16 Amro Gouda 17 Jake Turnbull 18 Matt Almeida 19 Chris Parker 20 Chad Joseph 21 Chris Saint 22 Max Tacket 23 Joe Kelly + Head Coach Justin Fitzpatrick
Rugby United New York: 1 James Rochford 2 Dylan Fawsitt 3 Paddy Ryan 4 Alex MacDonald 5 Trevor Cassidy 6 Matt Hughston 7 James Denise 8 Ross Deacon 9 Mike Petri (C) 10 Cathal Marsh 11 Connor Wallace-Sims 12 Will Leonard 13 Mark O’Keeffe14 Chris Mattina 15 Ben Foden16 Mike Brown17 Anthony Parry 18 Chris Sullivan 19 Matt Wirken 20 Myles McQuone 21 Marcus Walsh 22 Gavan D’Amore-Morrison 23 Derek Lipscomb + Head Coach Mike Tolkin