Austin Gilgronis Retain Texas Cup in Houston Shutout

Austin Gilgronis shutout the Houston SaberCats 26-0 to retain the Karbach Brewing Company Texas Cup in a clash on Saturday, April 3 at Bold Stadium. The match was streamed on the Rugby Network, broadcast on KXAN (Austin), and will be broadcast on Sunday on AT&T SportsNet Southwest.

The teams are still in the process of making adjustments. With the win, the Austin Gilgronis are 1-2, and moved into third place in the Western Conference with 8 points, despite losing their first two matches to Utah and San Diego Legion by a combined five points.

The Houston SaberCats will be concerned with two straight shutouts after beginning the season with a win over Seattle. The team is in fifth place in the Western Conference with 4 points.

On Saturday, April 10, the Gilgronis will travel to New Orleans to face NOLA Gold. Houston will host San Diego Legion that same day.

Match Recap

Houston had the first scoring opportunity after an obstruction penalty occurred after an Austin lineout. The usually accurate Sam Windsor pushed a kick wide left.

Austin utilized two SaberCats penalties to attack from a lineout deep within Houston territory. The Gilgronis maul was effective with hooker Mason Kock banging into the left corner to take a 5-0 lead, with Mack Mason’s conversion wide.

Another Gilgronis attack had the team advance into Houston territory before Robbie Povey was pinged for being offsides. Mack Mason’s penalty goal attempt, however, was missed.

A SaberCats attack near the Austin 22-meter line was stopped with discipline issues with Povey again being called for holding on in the breakdown, allowing Austin to clear.

While Austin was attacking, Diego Magno was sent to the bin for deliberately interfering with Will Magie. This resulted in another Mason Kock try from a rolling maul with Mack Mason adding the extras to lead 12-0.

Soon after, a Taylor Howden penalty for not releasing at the breakdown resulted in runs by Ned Hodson and Pele Cowley. The forwards then took over with Jamie Mackintosh barreling over in-goal from a pick and go. Mack Mason added the conversion for a 19-0 lead.

Just prior to the break, Houston’s Tiaan Erasmus was sent to the bin for a late tackle of Conner Mooneyham.

Second Half

The Houston SaberCats had several attacking chances with second-half substitutions occurring. The Austin defense, which was stellar all day, as well as discipline issues, continued to thwart SaberCats attacks.

In the 71st minute, Houston placed fullback Will Magie under pressure and he was sent to the bin for killing the ball. Houston could not take advantage of the Gilgronis being down a man and five minutes later nullified the man advantage with Zach Short issued yellow for a dangerous tackle on Rodrick Waters.

This led to an Austin lineout, maul, and a lob pass to Waters for a bonus point try. Mack Mason added the extras in the closing minute for a 26-0 victory.

The Gilgronis won the initial Texas Cup last year, and have retained the Cup for leg one of the two-match 2021 series. Mason Kock also was honored as the Man of the Match.

Teams have been noticing the Gilgronis line speed and team defense. The team is being to gel and will be one of the contenders in the Western Conference. Houston will need to address team discipline and find ways to stimulate their attack.

Houston HTX

There was positive news for the Houston Academy Team, Rugby HTX on April 3.

“We took a major step today in the growth of our program. The cohesion of the team is starting to happen. Our defensive discipline and efforts were what won our game. We are taking steps in the right direction towards building this program. Congratulations to Will Crawford @will_crawford53 for getting called up to the SaberCats. This past week.” – Head Coach Paul Emerick @paulemerickiv

Squads with Player Article Links & Match Preview

Houston SaberCats: 1 Val Lee-Lo 2 Diego Fortuny 3 Charlie Connolly 4 Kody O’Neil 5 Van StewartBronson Teles 7 Luke Beauchamp (C) 8 Diego Magno 9 Zach Short 10 Robbie Povey 11 Veramu Dikidikilati 12 Sam Windsor (VC) 13 Gabe Farley14 Paula Balekana 15 Matias Freyre 16 Tiaan Erasmus  17 Nicolas Solveyra 18 Nikoloz Khatiashvili 19 Lucas Albornoz 20 Adriaan Booysen 21 Jin Ho Mun 22 Taylor Howden 23 Zach Pangelinan

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