MATCH REPORT VS AUSTIN BLACKS 12/09/17
On Saturday, the SaberCats travelled up the 290 for the return scrimmage against the Austin Blacks at Burr Field.
The SaberCats had bragging rights from the first game, so Austin were hoping the home field advantage and the addition of some Austin Elite players would level the playing field.
Having seen snow a couple of days prior, the weather in Austin was looking ominous for Saturdays match. This was not to be, as a perfectly mild winters day set the mood for what was going to be an entertaining afternoon of expansive rugby.
The SaberCats started strong with 2 tries in the first quarter. A trademark run from Fijian 7s international, Josua Vici, saw him take off up the left wing, before evading a handful of defenders as he jinked and fended his way across the field to score in the right corner. Zach Pangelinan also touched down in the first 20 and added a conversion to give the SaberCats a 12-0 lead at the first break.
Austin came out firing in the second quarter and after a number of attempts at breaking through the Houston line, they managed to sneak in for a score to bring the score to 7-12.
Malacchi Esdale was next to score for Houston. He stepped his way through the Blacks defense and around the fullback to finish off a fine solo effort. Some quick thinking and smart kicking saw hooker, Diego Maquieira, collect a clever kick from Connor Murphy and streak away and score. Pangelinan converted both scores to give Houston a 26-7 advantage at the half way point.
With the wind a slope in their favor for the second half, Houston were hoping to put the game to bed as soon as they could. Unfortunately, their discipline cost them a number of penalties and allowed Austin to stay in the game. Vici crossed for the only try in the third period, it was converted and brought the score to 31-7 with 20 minutes to play.
The final quarter was the best of the day for Houston. They outscored Austin 4 tries to 1. A try each to Cecil Garber and Connor Murphy complemented a hat trick score for Vici and a second try of the afternoon for Malacchi Esdale. Austin scored a consolation try late in the piece to bring the final score to 55-14 in favor of the visiting team.
Houston have one final scrimmage, away against the Dallas Reds this Saturday, December 16. The team will continue training over Christmas, before welcoming the Seattle Saracens to Constellation Feld on January 6 for the first of 9 exhibition in the lead up to the inaugural Major League Rugby season beginning April 21st.