The Houston SaberCats host Austin Elite Rugby on May 25 at AVEVA Stadium at 5 pm (6 pm ET). Tickets are available and the match is being broadcast on CBS Sports Network.
This Saturday is the SaberCats Salute to Service night, as well as Pride in The Park night.
The Houston SaberCats are 3-10 after last week’s 27-20 win over NOLA Gold. They play a makeup game home on May 29 against the Glendale Raptors and conclude their season on June 1 away against the Utah Warriors.
Austin Elite Rugby has had an injury-plagued season are 0-14. Last week the team lost to Rugby United New York 27-7. The team finishes their season on June 2 in Seattle against the Seawolves.
The teams met the first week of the season on a rainy night with Sam Windsor slotting 7 penalty goals to beat Austin Elite 21-20. The teams have had some reinforcements since then for the second battle of Texas this season.
On paper, both teams are similar offensively, they have conceded more tries than scored. Houston has an edge in penalty goals 26-17. Houston has been more patient in recent games in trying to play within their opponent’s territory and in taking points when penalties occur. They have one of the best scrummaging teams in the MLR winning 96% of their put in versus 82% for Austin Elite. They also have a slight edge in lineouts, 84% to 79%. Look for the team to attack inside Austin’s 22-meters from set pieces.
Austin Elite Rugby has had slightly more success in going over the gainline, but need to translate that into points. Their defensive line speed is good. A concern is with penalties, averaging 10.4 per match versus 8.6 for Houston. Almost a third come from scrum infractions with the front row being pinged. Both teams also are penalized for high tackles.
For Austin Elite, look for Travis Larsen, Soheyl Jaoudat, and Ben Mitchell 61.2, 56.1, 48.2) to be the ball carrying leaders. The SaberCats feature Josua Vici, who averages 135.7 per match, while Malacchi Esdale and Zach Pangelinan average 54.6 and 47.1 respectively. Sam Windsor is usually the points leader of the team and averages over 9 of the team’s 17 points per match.
Houston SaberCats head Coach Paul Emerick has made five changes to the starters since last week’s win over NOLA Gold. Mateo Sanguinetti and Paul Mullen are in the front row, Cecil
Garber at flanker, Alejandro Nieto at No.8 and Zach Pangelinan at scrumhalf. Chris Saint returns to the matchday roster in the reserves.
Austin Elite Head Coach Alain Hyardet has made three changes in the starters as Sunoa Takizawa gets his first start at loosehead prop, Travis Larsen returns at flanker and Soheyl Jaoudat is at scrumhalf with Rodrigo Silva shifting to flyhalf. Dylan Pieterse and Alex Faison-Donahoe return to the matchday roster as reserves.
Squads with Player Article Links
Houston SaberCats: 1 Mateo Sanguinetti 2 Pat O’Toole 3 Paul Mullen 4 Diego Magno 5 Matt Trouville (C) 6 Luke Beauchamp 7 Cecil Garber 8 Alejandro Nieto 9 Zach Pangelinan 10 Sam Windsor 11 Deion Mikesell12 Thretton Palamo 13 Josua Vici 14 Malacchi Esdale 15 Osea Kolinisau 16 Amro Gouda 17 Jake Turnbull 18 Charlie Connolly 19 Victor Comptat 20 Robert Meeson 21 Chris Saint 22 Jamason Fa’anana-Schultz 23 Kieran Farmer + Interim Head Coach Paul Emerick
Austin Elite Rugby: 1 Sunao Takizawa 2 Peter Malcolm 3 Mason Pedersen 4 Ben Mitchell (C) 5 Josh Larsen 6 Travis Larsen 7 Dominique Bailey 8 Rikus Zwart 9 Soheyl Jaoudat 10 Rodrigo Sliva 11 Sione Fangaiuiha 12 Andrew Suniula 13 Juan Pablo “JP’ Aguirre 14 Reece Czarnecki 15 Zinzan Elan-Puttick (VC) 16 Tiaan Strauss Erasmus 17 Juan Echeverria18 LaRome White 19 Dylan Pieterse 20 Kyle Breytenbach21 Moe Abdelmonem 22 Alex Faison Donahoe 23 Aidan McMullan + Head Coach Alain Hyardet