Staying sharp: SaberCats know focus is key against Anthem Rugby Carolina

May 10, 2024 | Uncategorized

By Aaron Wilson

Perhaps the toughest opponent the SaberCats face every week is looking back at them in the mirror.
Handling success is a crucial aspect of the 8-1 SaberCats’ strategy as they work to position themselves for a third consecutive playoff berth and a push for the Major League Rugby championship shield.
Maintaining a humble, hungry approach is at the heart of the SaberCats’ game plan.
And that applies particularly Friday night as the SaberCats test their three-game winning streak on the road against Anthem Rugby Carolina. A newcomer to Major League Rugby this season, Anthem RC has yet to win a game and are 0-9 heading into this against the SaberCats.
Anthem RC has been outscored 416 to 176, the highest scoring differential in the league.
That doesn’t mean the SaberCats are taking them lightly, though.
On any given night, any rugby squad can come out on top.
“They struggled at the start, but have improved massively,” SaberCats first-year player Sam Hill said. “We’re expecting a tough game. 100 percent. It could be an easy slip. We could get complacent, but when you look at their recent performances, they’ve been a lot sharper. It’s a new week and we train and prepare for a tough game.”
Utah Warriors x Houston Sabercats, Saturday, May 4, 2024.
Camaraderie and culture are at the heart of the close-knit approach led by director Heyneke Meyer and coach Pote Human.
“At the end of the day, we’re a squad of 35 players and all the coaching staff and management, everybody buys in and rallies and is committed to win this championship,” Marno Redelinhuys said. “It’s a very positive vibe at work.”
Playing time has been distributed throughout the roster. The lineup changes every week on an overhauled squad that won a franchise-record 10 games last season and has qualified for the playoffs each of the past two seasons.
“I think all the credit goes to the coaching staff and recruiting guys,” Gideon van Wyk said. “Guys like Vic Meyer and Heyneke and Pote put a lot of effort into getting the right guys and culture together.
“That’s the No. 1 thing for the coaches is to find the right kind of guys. Everybody gets along and we have different guys from all over the world. We have each others’ back.”
The SaberCats are in good shape. The goal is to keep it going.
Utah Warriors x Houston Sabercats, Saturday, May 4, 2024.
“Guys are obviously really happy with how it’s going,” Hill said. “There have been some really tough games and we’ve dug out some really good wins. It comes down to hard work and culture and everyone working together as a team. I’ve seen how close the guys are.
“I didn’t know what to expect coming over here, but it’s a very close-knit group. In a short space, the guys have all become really close and we spend a lot of time together. It makes a huge difference.”
Back for his third season with the SaberCats after the Port Elizabeth, South Africa native signed a new contract this offseason, leading scorer Davy Coetzer is chasing a championship.
“Culture is something we talk about a lot with our team, and the main thing is for us is to get along and you need to have a good culture from start to finish,” Coetzer said. “Culture keeps us grinding and supporting each other and everyone having a common goal of winning the whole thing.
“We have such a good squad that it’s easier to rotate our players. We have motivated guys. The strength of the team is giving certain guys one-on-ones and playing to the strength of the team. I think the signings we made are great signings, not just good players, but very good people that add to the culture.”