Rugby United New York faces the Houston SaberCats at Belson Stadium on St. John’s University campus on Saturday, July 10 at 2 pm. It is fan appreciation day with all tickets $10. Click here for tickets!
For those who can’t attend, the match is being broadcast on AT&T Sports Net in Houston, MSG, and streamed on The Rugby Network.
Before the MLR match, Met NY U23s will play Roots Rugby at 11:30 am.
MLR is teaming with DASH and the American Cancer Society to fight breast cancer. All players this weekend will be wearing special jerseys that will be auctioned for this cause. To bid on Rugby United New York jerseys Click here. To bid on Houston SaberCats ones, Click here.
Which Houston SaberCats team will play New York? The one which went toe to toe in high-scoring matches against LA and Utah or the team which elects to slot penalty goals over kicking for territory in an attempt to score tries.
Sam Windsor leads the league in penalty goals (25), which is equal to the number of tries scored all season. He is also the leading points scorer in the league with 104 points.
The SaberCats could be a dangerous team for New York to face with nothing to lose when they take the pitch. Except, the players will need to impress newly hired Heyneke Meyer, who was named Director of Rugby. The SaberCats announced on June 10 that Paul Healy would not be returning for the 2022 season and would help with the transition to a new head coach.
For Rugby United New York the match is a must-win, after losing to the New England Free Jacks last Saturday, combined with NOLA Gold’s win over LA. RUNY enters the match in third place based on point differential to NOLA Gold.
NOLA travels to Seattle for a Sunday match, and should they win along with New York, it sets up a winner take all match for a playoff spot on July 17 in New York. This was the same scenario as in 2019 when New York advanced to the playoffs.
Both teams will have players missing due to international duty. New York has five players involved, with Nick Civetta, and Hanco Germishuys starting for the USA against Ireland Saturday and Nate Brakeley on the reserves. Quinn Ngawati is on the reserves for Canada against England, and Wilton Rebolo will be playing for Brazil against Chile.
Houston has Robbie Povey and Liam Murray as reserves for Canada against England with Lucas Albornoz, not on the matchday roster. Diego Magno and Nikoloz Khatiasvilli have left for internationals with Uruguay and Georgia, respectively.
Rugby United New York
New York not only faced losing five internationals last week but still was dealing with injuries to James Rochford and Andy Ellis which were sustained against Utah and Rugby ATL. Both injuries resulted after high tackles, with James Rochford having neck and back spasms, and Andy, a high ankle sprain from three weeks ago. Fortunately, Andy has removed and is in the matchday 23. New York also brought in some reinforcements in hooker Diego Maquieira and Max Dacey, a lock.
This week’s focus is on regaining the try-scoring form needed for a bonus-point win over Houston. The team has been one of the leading teams in the league and will be favored to provide a thrillingly fast pace style of rugby, as well as providing the power in the set pieces from the forwards.
Team captain Dylan Fawsitt is a fiery and respected leader, who is also one of the leading MLR try scorers, mainly from the maul. He is part of a senior leadership group, which has the support of the entire team, so expect the team to show through their actions why they are among the top teams in the league.
The team will play against the SaberCats with guys who support each other on and off the pitch and have belief, as well as the will that they will win.
Head Coach Marty Veale has made three changes in the starters with Andy Ellis returning and pairing with Dan Hollinshead in the halfbacks with Joel Miranda at right-wing.
There are two changes in the reserves with James Rochford returning to the matchday 23 at loosehead prop, and Connor Wallace-Sims making his first appearance of 2021 on the wing.
The SaberCats are playing for pride, as well as for next year’s contracts. They have contended in many matches, but have found ways to not gain wins. The SaberCats can play explosive competitive rugby, or will they wilt if New York scores fast and often early?
The fans are looking for an entertaining match, and don’t be surprised if the SaberCats oblige. That being said, the fans also want a New York bonus-point win.
The SaberCats are led by captain Sam Windsor, who has played in every single match since the team’s entry into the league in 2018. Nick Boyer was a key addition during the season at scrumhalf, and he is among the MLR leaders in try assists.
The SaberCats have six changes in their starters and another three in the reserves. Changes in the forwards include CJ Burke at tighthead prop, Bronson Teles at lock, and Cecil Garber at openside flanker. Nik Hildebrand moves from tighthead to loosehead prop, Apisai Tauyavuca from lock to blindside flanker, with captain Luke Beauchamp at No. 8.
Houston has swapped halfbacks with Zachary Short at scrumhalf and Taylor Howden at flyhalf. Captain Sam Windsor moves to the inside center. Zach Godfrey returns as a starter on the right-wing.
Reserve changes include Jeff Steele, a prop, who played with Rugby HTX and the Chicago Lions, Will Crawford (lock/back-row), and Jake Hidalgo at wing.
Squads with Player Article Links
Rugby United New York: 1 Sak Taulafo 2 Dylan Fawsitt (C) 3 Samu Tawake 4 Evan Mintern 5 Charlie Hewitt 6 Kyle Sumsion 7 Ben Bonasso 8 Kara Pryor 9 Andy Ellis 10 Dan Hollinshead 11 Apenisa Cakaubalavu 12 Will Leonard 13 Fa’asiu Fuatai 14 Joel Miranda 15 Ben Foden 16 Diego Maquieira 17 James Rochford 18 Kirk Hamilton 19 Max Dacey 20 Rob Irimescu 21 Conor McManus 22 Harry Bennett 23 Connor Wallace-Sims
Houston SaberCats: 1 Nik Hildebrand 2 Diego Fortuny 3 CJ Burke 4 Bronson Teles 5 Jérémy Lenaerts 6 Apisai Tauyavuca 7Cecil Garber 8 Luke Beaucamp (C) 9 Zachary Short 10 Taylor Howden 11 Paula Balekana 12 Sam Windsor 13 Joe Thomas 14 Zack Godfrey 15 Zach Pangelinan 16 Mike Brown 17 Patrick Donovan18 Jeff Steele 19 Will Crawford 20 Adriaan Booysen 21 Nick Boyer 22 Veramu Dikidikilati 23 Jake Hidalgo