The Glendale Raptors will host Austin Elite Rugby on Saturday, March 9 at Infinity Park in Glendale, Colorado. Kickoff is at 7 pm MST (9 pm EST) and tickets are still available. The match will be streamed on 9news.com.
Glendale Raptors opened their home season in the snow with a 22-0 win over the Toronto Arrows. Head Coach David Williams has made four changes in his starters with Zach Fenoglio, Kelepi Fifita, Casey Rock, and Chad London at hooker, tighthead prop, lock, and outside center, respectively. Brendan Daly switched from lock to flanker and Connor Cook from flanker to No.8.
Kody O’Neil returns to the match-day 23 squad and Jonny Layne is on the roster for the first time this season. The team has three USA players playing against Canada in the final Americas Rugby Championship match. Hanco Germishuys, Shaun Davies, and Will Magie are all starting for the Eagles.
Alain Hyardet made seven changes in his starters as the team is seeking its first win, Forwards changes include Chad Schade at loosehead prop and Peter Malcolm at hooker. Dylan Pieterse is at lock and new Canadian signee, Mo Abdelmonem gains a start at flanker.
In the backs, Rodrigo Silva returns from injury at flyhalf, Andrew Suniula comes in at outside center, and Alex Faison-Donahoe returns as a starter at wing.
Austin Elite Rugby is also missing Josh Larsen and Doug Fraser, who are playing for Canada, and Andres Vilaseca, who is playing for Uruguay. Doug Fraser has been with Canada’s National Team since the beginning of the season.
The MLR statistics favor the Glendale Raptors as they are more of an offensive threat. The Raptors have scored 19 tries, while Austin Elite has scored 7. The Raptors have also conceded fewer points. The Raptors are a possession team, but one who has slightly more turnovers and has more handling errors. Austin Elite Rugby could turn mistakes into points very quickly.
Look for Austin Elite Rugby to try to make the Raptors pay for their errors by slotting kicks early. That strategy could change with kicking for territory and trying to attack from lineouts. The Glendale Raptors like to maintain possession and when their opponents commit penalties, try to maul over in-goal from lineouts.
Austin Elite Rugby has had their chances in previous matches to claim a couple of wins. They are highly motivated to gain a win and the match could be a close one if the team scores early. The Raptors started the season with two losses and have since gained two wins and a tie. The Raptors will rely on their veterans for leadership and the team is a difficult one to beat at home.
Glendale Raptors: 1 Blake Rogers 2 Zach Fenoglio 3 Kelepi Fifita 4 Casey Rock C) 5 Luke White (C) 6 Brendan Daly 7 Peter Dahl 8 Connor Cook 9 Carlo De Nysschen 10 Ata Malifa (VC) 11 Harley Davidson 12 Robbie Petzer 13 Chad London 14 John Ryberg 15 Dylan Taikato-Simpson 16 Chad Gough 17 Max Lum 18 Kody O’Neil 19 Jonny Layne 20 William Munro 21 Mickey Bateman 22 Mika Kruse 23 Nick Johnson
Austin Elite Rugby: 1 Chris Schade 2 Peter Malcolm 3 Juan Echeverria 4 Ben Mitchell (C) 5 Dylan Pieterse 6 Rikus Zwart 7 Mohamed ‘Moe’ Abdelmonam 8 Kyle Breytenbach 9 Mickaël Romera 10 Rodrigo Sliva 11 Alex Faison Donahoe 12 Andrew Suniula 13 Zinzan Elan-Puttick (VC) 14 Ratu Peni Tagive 15 Soheyl Jaoudat 16 Tiaan Erasmus 17 Brendan Rams 18 LaRome White19 Dominique Bailey 20 Travis Larsen 21 Marcelo Torrealba 22 Timothée Guillimin 23 Sione Fangaiuiha + Head Coach Alain Hyardet