The Houston SaberCats will face the Utah Warriors on Thursday, March 21 at 7:30 pm CDT (8:30 pm EDT) in their final home match at Constellation Field. Tickets are available and the match may be viewed on Facebook Watch and on KUBE.
The SaberCats are in 8th place in the MLR standings with a 1-5 record and 6 points. The Utah Warriors are in 7th place with 7 points and a 1-3-1 record.
Houston SaberCats Head Coach Justin Fitzpatrick has made five changes in his starters with Josua Vici and Osea Kolinisau unavailable as the result of receiving red cards the previous week. Santiago Arata is also not on the matchday squad.
Mateo Sanguinetti gains a start at loosehead prop with Jamie Dever moving to the reserves. In the back, Connor Murphy and Max Tacket will start at scrumhalf and outside center, while both Malacchi Esdale and Kelly Kolberg at wing.
There are also three reserve changes with Victor Comptat expected to make his MLR 2019 debut at lock. Ayron Schramm is a reserve at the back row and Kieran Farmer at halfback/fullback is the lone reserve back.
Utah Warriors Head Coach Alf Daniels has made four changes since the team’s match two weeks ago. Jeremy Leber gets his first start of the season at hooker. Don Pati makes his 2019 debut with the team at fullback. Gannon Moore returns from international duty at center and Josh Anderson gains a start at wing.
The team has withheld an announcement of the reserve hooker. Is a surprise of the horizon?
In examining set pieces, the SaberCats have an edge in the scrums, winning 92.31% vs 78.79% to the Warriors, while lineouts remain about even. The Warriors have scored more tries and have conceded fewer points than the SaberCats.
The Houston SaberCats have looked their best when maintaining possession and using tactical kicking to play within their opponent’s territory. They need to get an early lead, minimize handling errors and penalties as the Warriors are skilled in counterattacks and have an accurate kicking game. Tim O’Malley is among the league leaders in penalty goals and conversions, but have an alternative in Josh Reeves. The SaberCats can counter with Sam Windsor, who is first in penalty goals.
Squads with Player Article Links
Houston SaberCats: 1 Mateo Sanguinetti 2 Pat O’Toole 3 Charlie Connolly 4 Diego Magno 5 Matt Trouville (C) 6 Luke Beauchamp 7 Cecil Garber 8 Alejandro Nieto 9 Connor Murphy 10 Sam Windsor 11 Malacchi Esdale 12 Conor Mills 13 Max Tacket 14 Kelly Kolberg 15 Zach Pangelinan 16 Amro Gouda 17 Jake Turnbull 18 Jamie Dever 19 Victor Comptat 20 Chris Parker 21 Chris Coyle 22 Kieran Farmer 23 Ayron Schramm+ Head Coach Justin Fitzpatrick
Utah Warriors: 1 Franco Van den Berg 2 Jeremy Leber 3 Angus Maclellan 4 Matt Jensen 5 Saia Uhila 6 Jackson Kaka 7 Lance Williams 8 John Cullen (VC) 9 Johnny Ika 10 James Semple 11Fetu’u Vanikolo 12 Tim O’Malley (C) 13 Gannon Moore 14 Josh Anderson15 Don Pati 16 TBA 17 Huluhola Moungaloa 18 Blake Burdette 19 Kenny Scott 20 Alex Tucci 21 Tonata Lauti 22 Jeremy Misailegalu 23 Joseph Nicholls + Head Coach Alf Daniels
DJCoil Rugby articles by Doug Coil are also available on Facebook. Other Social Media sites to follow or subscribe include Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube for interviews.