Friday, February 23, 2018

SaberCats, Gold Clash In Pre-Season Fixture

The first official meeting between two Major League Rugby sides occurs this weekend as the Houston SaberCats host the NOLA Gold in pre-season action in Sugarland, Texas. Both teams have already been active in the pre-season with the SaberCats facing a number of teams like the Chicago Lions, Vancouver Ravens, Uruguayan national team, and most recently NYAC. Houston is 4-2 so far in pre-season defeating every American side they've face while losing to Uruguay and the Ravens. Last week they edged NYAC by a point in what was their closest match of the season.  For their part the Gold took on the Capital Selects a few weeks back. They triumphed in that match and will be looking to test themselves against the SaberCats.

The match features several tasty match-ups at multiple position. Maybe the most watched area will be the back row where Kyle Sumsion, Cecil Garber, and Matt Trouville will suit up for Houston and Vince Jobo, Matt Hughston, and Sebastian Kalm suit up for the Gold. There are some very experienced players in the group that will turn a bunch of heads.

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Another area to watch is the front-row where on paper the Gold have an advantage. The trio of Hubert Buydens, Eric Howard, and Ben Tarr has the opportunity to be in the best front-row in the competition. This isn't to say that Houston's front-row doesn't have talent, they absolutely do, but they don't come with the same reputation.

On the flip side, Houston should have an advantage in the backs. Both backlines look very strong but the ability of the SaberCats to bring a player like Zach Pangelinan off the bench is a major advantage. In particular, we're watching the halfback battle between Connor Murphy and Sam Windsor for the SaberCats and Holden Yungert and Taylor Howden for the Gold.

No matter the result this is a big opportunity for these teams to test each other against MLR competition. Playing club sides and select sides is good but it's not the same as coming up against a fellow professional side.

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You can listen to the match which starts at 8:00 p.m. et/5:00 p.m. pt on Sunday.

Houston SaberCats

Forwards: Adam Macklin, Lindsey Stevens, Paul Mullen, Robert Meeson, Justin Allen, Kyle Sumsion (C), Cecil Garber, Matt Trouville

Backs: Connor Murphy, Sam Windsor, Josua Vici, Conor Mills, Malacchi Esdale, Alex Elkins, Osea Kolinisau

Bench: Diego Maquieira, Kenneth Hepburn, Jake Turnbull, Charlie Hewitt, Chris Parker, Chris Coyle, Chris Slater, Zach Pangelinan, Dan Paul, Chauntez Jackson


Forwards: Hubert Buydens, Eric Howard, Ben Tarr, Myles McQuone, John Sullivan, Vince Jobo, Matt Hughston, Sebastian Kalm

Backs: Holden Yungert, Taylor Howden, Jojo Tikoisuva, Zack Stryffeler, Tesimoni Tongauiha, Ratu Rinakama, JP Eloff

Bench: Derrek van Klein, Cam Falcon, Matt Wirken, William Waguespack, Bobby Johns, Michael Baska, Melvin DeSouza, Alec Janotka, John Stapleton, Todd Dupre

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