The Houston SaberCats will open their new rugby dedicated Aveva Stadium on April 13 against the Seattle Seawolves. Kickoff is at 5 pm CT (6 pm ET) and tickets are available. The match may be viewed on Facebook Watch, Kube, and on Root Sports.
The Houston SaberCats have proved to be a difficult opponent and this week should be no exception. The team met on March 10 in Seattle with the Seawolves scoring two tries in the final 8 minutes to win 27-14.
Houston has a 2-6 record and is in seventh place with 11 points. They want to jump-start their season with a strong second-half performance. Seattle is in fourth place with a 6-3 record with 32 points. They are trying to keep pace with the top teams to ensure making the playoffs after the regular season.
Houston SaberCats Head Coach Justin Fitzpatrick has made one change in his starters from last week’s match against the Glendale Raptors. Deion Mikesell replaces Kelly Kolberg at wing.
USA Rugby Men’s Eagles tighthead prop Paul Mullen will make his season debut from the reserves. Jamason Fa’anana-Schultz, who played with the NSW Waratahs and the Shute Shield Southern Districts will make his team debut, along with Thretton Palamo, who has played for the Eagles 7s and 15s National team, as well as for Premiership Rugby, PRO14 Rugby, and Top 14 clubs.
Seattle Seawolves Head Coach Richie Walker has made two changes in his starters with Api Naikatini returning at lock in place of Cam Polson and George Barton returning at outside center.
In the reserves, Taylor Krumrei also returns to the matchday roster. Ryan Youngman will make his debut with the team at tighthead prop. He joins the team from the Seattle Saracens.
In week 7, the Houston SaberCats led for most of the match before the Seawolves scored twice in the closing minutes to win 27-11. The match features the two best scrummaging teams. Expect the SaberCats to try to jump out to an early lead by controlling possession and trying to play within the Seawolves half. Tactical kicking will be used by both sides and the teams will take penalty goals if the match remains close. Both Sam Windsor and Brock Staller are two of the best kickers in the league.
The Houston SaberCats have strengthened their team with Mullen, Fa’anana-Schultz, and Palomo available in the closing minutes. That is where the team lost potential wins.
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 Osea Kolinisau 13 Max Tacket 14 Deion Mikesell 15 Zach Pangelinan 16 Amro Gouda 17 Jamie Dever 18 Paul Mullen 19 Victor Comptat 20 Robert Meeson 21 Jamason Fa’anana-Schultz 22 Thretton Palamo 23 Joe Kelly + Head Coach Justin Fitzpatrick
Seattle Seawolves: 1 Kellen Gordon 2 Stephan Coetzee 3 Tim Metcher 4 Jérémy Lenaerts 5 Apisai Naikatini 6 Brad Tucker 7 Nakai Penny 8 Riekert Hattingh 9 Phil Mack 10 Ben Cima 11 Sequoyah Burke-Combs 12 Shalom Suniula (C) 13 George Barton 14 Brock Staller 15 Mat Turner 16 Dan Trierweiler 17 Djustice Sears-Duru 18 Ryan Youngman19 Taylor Krumrei 20 Eric Duechle 21 JP Smith 22 Roland Suniula 23 Dion Crowder + Head Coach Richie Walker