‘We can grow rugby,’ SaberCats excited about season, culture

Jan 31, 2024 | Uncategorized

By Aaron Wilson

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Inside the Fertitta Center on Saturday morning before the University of Houston basketball team defeated Kansas State, the SaberCats delivered a powerful message about the sport of rugby.

As a returning playoff squad that set a franchise record with 10 victories last season and has manufactured two consecutive winning seasons with several key veterans back and the same leadership structure in director Heyneke Meyer and coach Pote Human having multiple talented additions to the roster, the SaberCats have a lot to be excited about.

That’s why they’re getting the word out about the squad and Major League Rugby during a promotional appearance on the UH campus.

UH and the SaberCats are partnering with a planned UH night on April 27. This was the SaberCats’ turn in the collaboration to promote rugby.

“I think it’s good that we as an organization are trying to spread the word,” wing Jeremy Misailegalu said. “Rugby has changed my life. If we can spread the whole culture and get more people to play the sport, we can grow it. I’ve seen what rugby has done for me and my peers.

“Rugby is played under so many cultures around the world with one common goal: to win. We all trust each other and enjoy the process and are having fun. It’s amazing. We have a great culture.”


Misailegalu is a 5-foot-11, 230-pound newcomer to the SaberCats. A former high school running back and linebacker from Puyallup, Washington nicknamed “Missile,” Misailegalu has previous stints with Atlanta, Utah and Seattle.

“They call me ‘Missile,’ because I’m a bulldozer-slash-Honey Badger,” Misailegalu said. “I love the violent aspect of the sport, being scrappy. There’s a carryover from football. A lot of similarities. I like to run with the ball as a former running back. As a linebacker, you get to tackle and rugby has that carryover that’s really cool.”


Seimou Smith joined Misailegalu at the event. There will also be a UH event during a future SaberCats game. Smith, 27, previously played for the American Raptors and Rugby United. The New Hampshire native is excited about the future. “I’m happy to be in Houston,” Smith said. “The culture has been great. We’re thinking quality over quantity. We’ve been focused on culture and wanting the best for the team and teamwork.”

One of the themes for the season during an election year: ‘Vote Rugby.’

The SaberCats are ambassadors for the sport.

“It’s a great story,” Smith said. “We’re growing rugby. We get to get in front of the people and get the word out there. The sport has done so much for me. I’ve been playing professional rugby for five years. Anytime I can give back, I’m all for it. Houston has everything, but we can give them another sport to love and have everybody in Houston adopt rugby as another team to get behind and encourage.”