Team of the Week: SaberCats return to action on road against Utah

May 3, 2024 | Uncategorized

By Aaron Wilson

Riding a strong wave of momentum, the SaberCats have built a new winning streak defined by their teamwork.
Heading into Saturday night’s road match against the Utah Warriors, the 7-1 SaberCats are the reigning Team of the Week in Major League Rugby. They are aiming for their third consecutive win since sustaining their only loss of the season against the New England Free Jacks.
The SaberCats are coming off a dominant 33-0 shutout victory over the San Diego Legion headlined by back row Ronan Murphy’s Man of the Match performance. Murphy recorded a team-high two tries and also contributed 13 tackles.
The 4-4 Warriors represent a challenge for the SaberCats.
“Utah, they’re a tough outfit, a scrappy team with good forwards and crafty backs,” Murphy said. “It will definitely be a contest. I know they have a good homefield advantage with their crowd.”
Led in scoring by Davy Coetzer’s 53 points, which ranks seventh overall in the league, the SaberCats are in first place in the Western Conference Division with 34 points, one more point than the 7-1 Seattle Seawolves.
“Utah is an expansive team,” Christian Dyer said. “They like to move the ball wide, playing running rugby. We really have to be disciplined with our spacing. When we’re aggressive, we make turnovers happen.”
Against the Legion, the SaberCats’ superior passing and alert play paid dividends.
Especially with Murphy’s scoring touch.
“The first one was great team play and interchange of hands,” Murphy said. “I saw Marno (Redelinghuys) break the line and I just tried to go off his hip. He did good to get his hands free and get me the ball.
“The second one, all credit to our forwards smashing into them and they eventually cracked. I just saw the hole and took it. You can’t complain when you have got seven wins. Obviously, the team has been putting in a lot of work. We just try to churn away as a unit. If the team is winning, I’m happy.”
Murphy was signed in October after previously playing for the American Raptors and Austin Gilgronis.
The 6-foot-3, 235-pound San Francisco native played collegiately at Saint Mary’s College of California where he helped the team win a national championship. He was named a Collegiate All-American and was nominated for the Rudy Scholz award.
“I learned a lot from Tim O’Brien at St. Marys, a pretty open, free-flowing style of rugby,” Murphy said. “So, I like to get loose out there and shake things up.”