Match Report: SaberCats vs NOLA Gold Rugby 5.18.19
SaberCats – 27
NOLA Gold Rugby – 20
Don’t call it a comeback, because there was no need for one. All that occurred was perhaps the biggest upset of the 2019 season after the Houston SaberCats came away with the 27-20 victory over the heavily favored NOLA Gold. Luke Beauchamp was named the team’s Man of the Match.
From the opening kickoff, there was a glaring smashmouth element to this game. Ball carriers from either side were meeting tacklers head-on with a vicious tenacity that was equaled by the tacklers themselves.
Through much of this season, we’ve seen the ‘Cats employ a kick and pursue style plan of attack. Saturday, however, saw a very concerted effort from Houston to keep the ball in hand and allow their playmakers like Osea Kolinisau and Thretton Palamo to do what they do. The result of which was huge games from a number of players, with one, in particular, being Josua Vici. While the Fijian-phenom didn’t find the In-Goal himself, his highlight reel on the night included a multitude of runs that forced many extra efforts from NOLA to defend.
A fast first-half start that included tries from Sam Windsor (Fly-Half) and Santiago Arata (Scrum-Half) allowed the ‘Cats to send an early message to the Gold that they were here to play. But, with a halftime score of 17-all, the Black and Yellow Underdogs were going to face the test of keeping their momentum going through the second frame of 40 minutes.
If there were those who feared the ‘Cats would fail such a test they must’ve felt more reassured by the minute, as the ‘Cats continued to exhibit relentless energy in both the offensive and defensive phases of the game. A try by Alejandro Nieto and a penalty kick by Sam Windsor would put the ‘Cats ahead for what would be the second and final time. And while NOLA would be able to slot one more penalty on their own to secure the bonus point, they would not find the offense necessary to overcome the hungry pack of SaberCats.
Head Coach Paul Emerick has made it a point to develop the team’s pattern work in the backline, and we saw on the field players were finding themselves in position to be effective a lot more fluidly than in games past. A much-improved line speed made a great deal of difference as well.
This game proved that the ‘Cats have long held the pieces to be a dangerous team to play, and it now seems as if those pieces are coming together as the season comes to a close. Spoiler anyone?
Stream Full Match Here
By Liam Poach
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HOUSTON SABERCATS NAME NEW PRESIDENT The Houston SaberCats are pleased to announce
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The last home game of the season, as well as the official
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