The Houston SaberCats “official” grand opening at AVEVA Stadium was rescheduled to May 25, 2019, at 7:30 pm in Houston, Texas against the Glendale Raptors. The postponement was caused by fan safety issues after torrential rains hit the Houston area.
Houston SaberCats ‘Grand Opening’ Release
The Grand Opening Ceremonies include pre-game entertainment, ribbon cutting, the game, and fireworks, along with the first 1500 people receiving a SaberCats / AVEVA Stadium commemorative coin.
Houston Sports representatives & AVEVA distinguished guests to be honored during the game.
Back on February 2, 2018, The City of Houston committed property within the Houston Sports Park and $3.2 million in support of the stadium project with the SaberCats’ ownership group adding $12 million for the construction of the stadium and its amenities plus 2 additional fields. “This is a major step forward,” Mayor Turner said of the deal. “We say we’re an international city, and this helps create those venues that can appeal to the interests of a very diverse population.”
AVEVA Stadium is the first stadium built in the United States specifically for professional Rugby. The complex, with 3 fields and parking for 1,200 cars, will also host other sports and entertainment events when the SaberCats are on-the-road or in their offseason.
“Due to the relentless rain, we decided to air on the side of caution for our fan safety and postpone the game to Wednesday, May 29th. The SaberCats are excited to be officially opening AVEVA Stadium. The team’s ownership is committed to making rugby a major part of the Houston sports landscape and AVEVA Stadium finally gives our team and our fans a home to make that happen. We are so grateful for our partnership with AVEVA, the support of our fans and players – whom we have bounced from venue-to-venue to play our games during the 2018 inaugural season and again in 2019 due to extended stadium construction schedule, the commitment of all our amazing sponsors who believe in our mission, and for the commitment from the City of Houston investing in this project to make our city an even more attractive destination. None of this would have been possible without everyone’s support and so to each of you we say – AVEVA Stadium is yours!”
– Brian Colona, President/ Houston SaberCats
“AVEVA is delighted to be part of the Houston SaberCats family and to support the local rugby community in Houston in their pursuits in Major League Rugby at the AVEVA Stadium. Houston has a thriving sports scene, and the rugby community is growing year on year. We, AVEVA, are excited and look forward to witnessing the special sporting moments that will take place at the AVEVA Stadium. As the world’s leading industrial engineering software company now supporting the Houston Sabercats, we aim to carry our culture of ‘innovate and inspire’ through participation, engagement and education, harnessing the sport’s character-building values to excite, engage and inform new audiences in Houston and throughout the MLR community. We encourage Houstonians to come along and see firsthand the values and principles that drew AVEVA to aligning with Rugby. Go SaberCats!”
– Lee Tedstone, Global VP, AVEVA.
Houston SaberCats Paul Emerick has a 2-1 record since taking over as Interim Head Coach. He has made five changes in the starters swapping props to Jamie Dever and Charlie Connolly. Victor Comptat is at lock, and Alejandro Nieto is at No.8. Connor Murphy also returns at scrumhalf. Chris Coyle and Kelly Kolberg also return to the matchday roster as reserves.
Glendale Raptors Head Coach David Williams has made five changes in the starters with Blake Rogers at loosehead prop, Jason Damm at flanker, Shaun Davies at scrumhalf, Ata Malifa at flyhalf, and Robbie Petzer at inside center.
The Glendale Raptors ended their contention for the playoffs last Sunday and will finish the regular season against the SaberCats. The last time the teams met, the Raptors came back from a large deficit to win 52-44.
The Raptors have been successful when they control possession (55%) and play within their opponent’s territory (53%). Houston also had success against the Raptors when they took points from penalties and kicked for territory and utilized their scrum to score from close range in the first match. The SaberCats win 96% of their own scrums compared to 89% for the Raptors with lineouts about even.
The Raptors are the third leading team on attack averaging 30.5 points per match compared to 17.2 for the SaberCats. An intangible is the Grand Opening of AVEVA Stadium and the two-match win streak under Interim Head Coach Paul Emerick. Are the SaberCats having more fun lately? Does this translate into an invigorated attitude on the pitch?
Expect that the match will be a close one in the upper twenties or low thirties. Both teams are playing for pride, their fan base and for contracts for next year.
Squads With Player Article Links
Houston SaberCats: 1 Jamie Dever 2 Pat O’Toole 3 Charlie Connolly 4 Diego Magno 5 Victor Comptat 6 Jamason Fa’anana-Schultz 7 Cecil Garber 8 Alejandro Nieto 9 Connor Murphy 10 Sam Windsor 11Deion Mikesell 12 Thretton Palamo (C) 13 Josua Vici 14 Malacchi Esdale 15 Osea Kolinisau 16 Amro Gouda 17 Paul Mullen 18 Jake Turnbull 19 Robert Meeson 20 Luke Beauchamp 21 Chris Coyle 22 Zach Pangelinan 23 Kelly Kolberg + Interim Head Coach Paul Emerick
Glendale Raptors: 1 Blake Rogers 2 Zach Fenoglio 3 Noah Barker 4 Brendan Daly (VC) 5 6 Jason Damm 7 Malon Al-Jiboori 8 Murphy Taramai 9 Shaun Davies (C) 10 Ata Malifa 11 Harley Davidson 12 Robbie Petzer 13 Chad London 14 Mika Kruse 15 Dylan Taikato-Simpson 16 Chad Gough17 Max Lum 18 Kody O’Neil 19 William Munro 20 Connor Cook 21 Carlo De Nysschen 22 Will Magie 23 Campbell Johnstone + Head Coach David Williams