Major League Rugby Excels in Exhibition Season

02-Feb-2018

NOLA vs Capital Selects via Craig Boudreaux

Opening day is less than three months away. As Major League Rugby’s inaugural season approaches, each team is preparing for what is set to be a memorable year.

While all teams have hit the pitch for the start of team training sessions, two squads - the Houston SaberCats and NOLA Gold - have already reaped the rewards of early exhibition success.

In their lone match of 2018, NOLA defeated the Capital Selects, 68-15 at Gretna Park.

“We took a lot out of the game,” head coach Nate Osborne told FloRugby. “For most of the guys it was the first time running the attack and defense shape together in a match. There are some things we need to be better at.”

NOLA Gold Soars Past Capital Selects, via Craig Boudreaux

Sebastian Kalm, the former All-American from Lindenwood University, converted two tries and was named Man of the Match while fullback JP Eloff chipped in 23 points and converted 9-of-10 off the tee.

Kalm via @USMLR

The Houston SaberCats have had a busy new year, hosting four exhibition matches at Constellation Field in Sugar Land. Notably, the SaberCats drew a record attendance of 5,450, the most fans to ever attend a domestic rugby match. The record crowd witnessed Houston defeat the Seattle Saracens, 50-7.

Houston has also faced the Vancouver Ravens, a 26-23 loss, the highly-touted Uruguay national team, a 32-24 loss, and James Bay Athletic Association, a 42-13 win .

Houston SaberCats via Judy Teasdale Photography

The SaberCats fan experience has been highlighted by pregame tailgates featuring music, food, drinks and games as well as promotional giveaways and in-game entertainment for the whole family.

Before the regular season kicks off on April 21, 19 MLR players will don a USA Eagles jersey at the Americas Rugby Championship beginning Feb. 3 when the U.S. takes on Argentina XV followed by matches against Canada, Chile, Brazil and Uruguay.

The Eagles are returning some of their top contributors from the 2017 ARC title team in Mike Te’o (San Diego Legion), Shaun Davies (Glendale Raptors) and Ryan Matyas (San Diego Legion).

Player Team Position
Patrick Ryan Austin Elite Prop
Hanco Germishuys Austin Elite Number 8
Peter Malcolm Austin Elite Hooker
Ben Landry Glendale Raptors Lock
Shaun Davies Glendale Raptors Scrum half
Bryce Campbell Glendale Raptors Center
Will Magie Glendale Raptors Fly half
Ryan Matyas San Diego Legion Wing
Mike Te’o San Diego Legion Full back
Dylan Audsley San Diego Legion Inside center
Tony Purpura San Diego Legion Prop
Nate Augspurger San Diego Legion Scrum half
Cam Dolan San Diego Legion Number 8
Ben Cima San Diego Legion Fly half
Aladdin Schirmer Seattle Seawolves Flanker
Josh Whippy Utah Warriors Wing
Paul Lasike Utah Warriors Center
Matt Jensen Utah Warriors Lock
Angus Maclellan Utah Warriors Prop