The Houston SaberCats host Tasman Mako in their first preseason match on Saturday, January 18, 2020, at 7 pm CT at AVEVA Stadium in Houston, Texas. The Mako will play their first match of the two-match USA Tour. The second is against the Seattle Seawolves on Sunday, January 26.
The match will be broadcast on the Houston SaberCats Facebook page.
The Houston SaberCats head coach Paul Healy has selected a roster that will have ten returning players as starters along with five new players. Val Lee-Lo joins the team after injuries curtailed his play. Kyle Breytenbach previously played with the Austin Herb. De Wet Roos will captain the side at scrumhalf, Argentinan Matias Freyne will be a wing, & former Dragons player Tiaan Loots at inside center.
Gabe Romero re-joins the team after being injured, Victor Comptat will pair with Breytenbach at lock, Luke Beauchamp and Cecil Garber will be the flankers with Uruguay international Diego Magno the vice-captain at No.8. Sam Windsor, who is one of the MLR points leaders, is at flyhalf, with Zach Pangelinan and Olympian Osea Kolinisau at wing and at fullback, respectively.
Reserves include newcomers Zack Godfrey, Boyd Wiggins, Mathew Faogali, Jake Christmann, Tim Stanfill & Zachary Short. Charlie Hewitt returns to the team after missing the regular season due to injury and Kieran Farmer also returns.
Major League Rugby has supported the USA Sevens program and Malacchi Esdale is in Fiji with the USA Falcons playing in the McDonald’s Coral Coast Sevens.
Tasman Mako has included a 27 man squad comprising of contracted Tasman players who do not have Super contracts, Tasman B and U19 players. The Mako will be led by Marist’s Jacob Norris with Braden Stewart and Jamie Spowart as vice-captains. All three have Mitre 10 Cup experience with Tasman, while Spowart is a former NZ Under 20 representative.
Reserves include Sam Lane, Quinn Harrison-Jones, and Matt Graham-Williams in the front row, Hopote Taufu and Max Hicks locks, Connor Higgins and Tim Sail back-row, Mitchell Barry scrumhalf, Sam Briggs flyhalf, Taine Robinson center, with Jan Lammers and Saul Lewis in the back three.
Houston SaberCats: 1 Valdemar Lee-Lo 2 Gabe Romero 3 Charlie Connolly 4 Kyle Breytenbach 5 Victor Comptat 6 Luke Beauchamp 7 Cecil Garber 8 Diego Magno (VC) 9 Dewet Roos (C) 10 Sam Windsor 11 Matias Freyre 12 Tiaan Loots 13 Max Tacket 14 Zach Pangelinan 15 Osea Kolinisau Reserves 11 Zack Godfrey 16 Tim Cadwallader 17 Boyd Wiggins 18 Charlie Hewitt 19 Mathew Faoagali 20Tim Stanfill 21 Jake Christmann 22 Kieran Farmer 23 Zachary Short Head Coach Paul Healy
Tasman Mako: 1 Kershawl Skyes Martin 2 Max Fraine 3 Sam Matenga 4 Te Ahiwaru Ciridavet 5 Antonio Shalfoon 6 Jacob Norris (C) 7 Braden Stewart (VC) 8 Isaiah Miller 9 Louie Chapman 10 Campbell Morgan-Parata 11 Rahiri Witehira 12 Michael Stringer 13 Caleb Coventry 14 Nick Foxley 15 Jamie Spowart (VC) Reserves 16 Sam Lane 17 Quinn Harrison-Jones 18 Matt Graham-Williams 19 Hopote Taufu 20 Max Hicks 21 Connor Higgins 22 Tim Sail 23 Mitchell Barry 24 Sam Briggs 25 Jan Lammers 26 Saul Lewis 27 Taine Robinson Staff Co-Coaches Gray Cornelius & Kahu Marfell, Manager Kurt Harrington, Physio James Holden, S&C Tony Lewis, CEO Wayne Young – Chairman
- @Hou_Sabercats v Tasman Mako, Aveva Stadium, Houston, Saturday 18th January. 7:00 PM CT
@Seawolves_Rugby v Tasman Mako, Starfire Stadium, Seattle, Sunday 26th January, 7:30 PM PT
- New Zealand kick-off times will be Sunday 19 Jan at 12 noon for the Houston match and 4:30 pm on Monday, January 27 for the Seattle game.