‘Always hardest at the top,’ undefeated SaberCats back in action Saturday against Freejacks

Apr 13, 2024 | Uncategorized

By Aaron Wilson

As the undefeated SaberCats return to action Saturday night against the New England Freejacks, they do so with the knowledge that their success creates another challenge.
Being the lone team in Major League Rugby that hasn’t lost a match ups the ante for their competitors, who would like nothing more than to become the first team to defeat the 5-0 SaberCats.
The SaberCats face a challenge against the 4-1 Freejacks, who are in first place in the Eastern Conference division. The SaberCats had an open week last week and welcome military personnel and first responders Saturday night for Honoring Heroes Night as musician Payton Howie is the featured performer.
“As the season goes on, especially if we stay undefeated, it will be harder and harder to keep that streak going,” back row Tomiwa Agbongbon said. “It’s always the hardest at the top. We’ve always got a target on our back. It’s a great thing about that group. We embrace that challenge. We embrace going out and fighting for each other and express ourselves and play for our families and loved ones. I look forward to what the season has to bring.”
The SaberCats, who are led in scoring by Davy Coetzer’s 29 points, are coming off a 30-27 road win over the Dallas Jackals preceded by a win over the previously unbeaten Seattle Seawolves.
Having built a strong culture under the leadership of director Heyneke Meyer and coach Pote Human, the surging SaberCats are off to a fast start.
The camaraderie established on a roster headlined by several newcomers and returning veterans has been an asset.
“Something that’s been brewing on our team is a will to fight to the end, and we fought to the last minute, the last second of the game,” hooker Pita Anae-Ah Sue said. “That’s making the difference in our games. We get ourselves into a wee pickle and we get ourselves out of it. We’re learning to grind to the end.”
For players like back row lock Emmanuel Albert, named MLR Player of the Week after the Dallas match when he scored two tries and led the team in tackles, it’s all about pushing for a championship.
“Yes, that’s correct,” Albert said. “We’re trying to get the shield this year. We can with this team this year, this atmosphere. Everyone is very driven to be the ones at the end of the season lifting the shield. We’re a big family. Everybody has bought into what the coaches are emphasizing and their vision. That’s been keeping us going and winning this season.”
A former Seawolves player, AJ Alatimu is enjoying his transition to the SaberCats.
“Oh man, it’s a good time,” he said. “Very good culture, very family-oriented environment. That definitely does help with winning.”