The Houston SaberCats hosted NOLA Gold Rugby Club on Saturday, March 16 at Constellation Field. The result was not what the SaberCats wanted, as NOLA Gold left Houston with a 49-11 win.
The Houston SaberCats have a short turn around as they host the Utah Warriors on March 21. The league-leading NOLA Gold hosts Austin Elite Rugby on March 23.
After some early back and forth, NOLA Gold had the first chance for points after a penalty, however, JP Eloff’s kick was wide. The SaberCats took advantage of their opportunities with two penalty goals by Sam Windsor for a 6-0 lead after 17 minutes.
The Houston SaberCats continued their momentum from their performance the previous week for the first quarter, but NOLA Gold struck quickly in the second quarter with four tries for a 28-6 lead at the break. Tristan Blewett and Kyle Baillie alternated tries with Eloff slotting four conversions.
The NOLA Gold attack continued with Gold held up in-goal. The ensuing 5-meter scrum then resulted in a knock on and let the SaberCats clear. Soon after Blewett had a line break and added a hat trick try with Eloff converting again to push the lead to 35-6.
The SaberCats then answered with a Josua Vici try to cut the lead to 35-13.
The SaberCats defensive pressure created a Gold penalty after a Gold lineout 10 meters from the line and allowed the team to clear.
In the 71st minute, the match effectively ended after a double red card by Josua Vici and Osea Kolinisau. NOLA Gold’s attack is difficult enough to stop, but with the SaberCats down to 13 players, Gold added tries by JoJo Tikoisuva and Eloff for the 49-11 win.
With the win, NOLA Gold’s record improved to 5-1, while the SaberCats fell to 1-5.
Man of the Match honors went to Tristan Blewett of NOLA Gold, with Alejandro Nieto winning similar honors for the Houston SaberCats.
Squads with Player Article Links & Match Preview
Houston SaberCats: 1 Jamie Dever 2 Pat O’Toole 3 Charlie Connolly 4 Diego Magno 5 Matt Trouville (C) 6 Luke Beauchamp 7 Cecil Garber 8 Alejandro Nieto 9 Santiago Arata 10 Sam Windsor 11 Joe Kelly 12 Conor Mills 13 Osea Kolinisau 14 Josua Vici 15 Zach Pangelinan 16 Amro Gouda 17 Jake Turnbull 18 Matt Almeida 19 Robert Meeson 20 Chris Parker 21 Chris Coyle 22 Connor Murphy 23 Max Tacket + Head Coach Justin Fitzpatrick
NOLA Gold: 1 Hubert Buydens 2 Eric Howard (C) 3 Ben Tarr 4 Kane Thompson 5 Ignacio Dotti 6 Kyle Baille 7 Zack Stryffeler 8 Cam Dolan 9 Holden Yungert 10 Scott Gale 11 Nick Feakes 12 Con Foley 13 Tristan Blewett 14 Tim Maupin 15 JP Eloff (C) 16 Matt Harmon 17 Cam Falcon 18 Kevin Sullivan19 Nikola Bursic 20 Moni Tongauiha 21 John Sullivan 22 Taylor Howden 23 JoJo Tikoisuva