SaberCats celebrate historic evening in Houston

It was a dream debut for the Houston SaberCats at Constellation Field on Saturday evening. A 50-7 win over the Seattle Saracens was a fine result for the first official preseason match of the inaugural Major League Rugby season.

Sam Windsor and Pago Haini each grabbed two tries with singles going to Josua Vici, Malacchi Esdale, Conor Murphy, and Zach Pangelinan. The latter was named man-of-the-match for his overall performance and added five conversions.

More impressive, however, was the fan turnout. A final tally read 5,354, a number very much worth lauding considering the Aviva Premiership match in Philadelphia between Newcastle Falcons and European champions Saracens ushered only 6,271 through the gates.

It’s also nearly 2,000 more than the 3,400 mark that PRO Rugby managed in their best game in 2016. The now-defunct league claimed an average of 1,700 for its one and only season.

England’s second division, the Greene King IPA Championship, averages only slightly more and in fact only three clubs even have the capacity to hold more than 5,000. If this is a sign of things to come, American fans have a lot to look forward to in 2018.

Houston will host another CDI Premier League side, the UBCOB Ravens, next Saturday.

 

SCORING

HOUSTON SABERCATS 50
Tries – S. Windsor 2 (12’, 37’), J. Vici (15’), M. Esdale (23’), C. Murphy (27’), Z. Pangelinan (39’), P. Haini 2 (57’, 80’)
Cons – Z. Pangelinan 5/8 (13’, 16’, 40’, 58’, 80’)
Yellow cards – P. Haini (67′)

SEATTLE SARACENS 7
Tries – Penalty try (78’)

 

TEAMS

HOUSTON SABERCATS
1 Jamie Dever, 2 Diego Maquieira, 3 Adam Macklin, 4 Robert Meeson, 5 Justin Allen, 6 Kyle Sumsion (capt.), 7 Cecil Garber, 8 Matt Trouville, 9 Connor Murphy, 10 Sam Windsor, 11 Josua Vici, 12 Conor Mills, 13 Osea Kolinisau, 14 Malacchi Esdale, 15 Zach Pangelinan

Replacements: 16 Jack Riley, 17 Estevan Florez, 18 Petey Hepburn, 19 Chris Parker, 20 Pago Haini, 21 Chris Slater, 22 Kieran Farmer, 23 Dan Paul

SEATTLE SARACENS
1 Kellen Gordon, 2 Dan Trierweiler, 3 Mike Shepherd, 4 Nick McKenna, 5 Taylor Krumrei, 6 Cole van Harn, 7 Jon Valz, 8 Aladdin Schirmer, 9 Isaiah Chinen, 10 Zach Burns, 11 Dion Crowder, 12 Mike Garrity, 13 Sequoyah Burke-Combs, 14 Will Stowers, 15 Cecil Ala

Replacements: 16 Ryan Youngman, 17 Louie Henson, 18 Ben Gustafson, 19 Eric Soto, 20 Ryan Snider, 21 Jonny Reid, 22 William Rasileka, 23 Neori Driu

 

MATCH OFFICIALS

Referee: Scott Green (USAR)

 

Attendance: 5,354

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