The Texas Showdown Match Preview: SaberCats vs. Austin Elite Rugby
Momentum-that’s going to be the name of the game as the Houston SaberCats (3-10) head into part-two of The Texas Showdown with the Austin Elite (0-14). The last time these two squads met, it was week one, and the SaberCats managed to come away with a 21-20 victory on the road thanks to SEVEN converted penalty kicks from Sam Windsor.
Now, these two teams will be looking to give it their all for very similar reasons: Redemption. While this season may not have gone the way either side would have liked, there are still plenty of talented players on both teams who will be looking to show they’re better than their current records indicate.
When it comes to the basic Head-to-Head statistics, Houston slightly edges out Austin in average Possession Advantage at 50% to 48% per game. This is good news, especially when you consider we also hold a sizable advantage in both the Scrum (96% Win-Rate to 82%) and Lineout (84% Win-Rate to 79%). As long as we’re executing in the set piece and keeping the ball-in-hand, our offense will be afforded opportunities to make something happen.
However, one area I like to take a close look at with most games is the Gain-Line-Over percentage (GLO). GLO-% basically measures how often a team is getting past the point of the initial breakdown after the ball is passed out.
It’s also a good indicator of not only how efficient your passing game is, but how much pressure you can put on an opponent’s defense on a game by game basis. If your GLO is low (hey, that rhymes!), you’re typically getting beaten back by the defense more often than not. BUT, the higher it is, the more you’re putting the opponents on their back heel and forcing them to adjust. Austin just barely pulls ahead of Houston in Season Average GLO Rate at 69% to 66%.
Now, generally what this would say is The Elite are seeing a higher rate of efficiency on a per run basis, and in some games we’ve seen this season, that’s been true. However, since Interim Head Coach Paul Emerick took over, the ‘Cats have seen steady improvement in their GLO Rate (49% vs RUNY, 54% vs NOLA).
If the ‘Cats can execute the way they did versus New Orleans a week ago, there is little doubt a victory is obtainable. While the scrum remains as strong as ever, the gradual emergence of the backline into its full potential is a factor worth getting excited about, especially with three very winnable games ahead versus Glendale and Utah.
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