On a chilly, foggy evening that made the rugby players from England, Scotland, Ireland and Northern Ireland feel right at home, the Houston SaberCats scored a try in the 2nd minute of the game and were never threatened as they beat the Capital Selects 49-3 last Saturday at Constellation Field.
The score could have been much larger as the SaberCats crossed the goal line five times but could not get the ball placed on the ground to make the score count.
Justin Allen from Ireland scored the first try in the second minute. In the 26th minute, Osea Kolinisau, Fiji, scored the SaberCats second try. Zach Pangelinan, Guam, converted both kicks and the halftime score was 14-0.
After the Capital Selects kicked a penalty goal in the 43rd minute to make the score 14-3, the SaberCats combination of speed and power were just too much for the Selects. Charlie Hewitt, England, scored his first official try of the season in the 55th minute.
“This was actually my second try. I got one in my second game, but the scoreboard gave it to Justin (Allen),” Hewitt said. “Tonight, I just had the right angle to get past the goal line and to get the ball down”
Josua Vici, Fiji, scored trys in the 62nd and 69th minutes, Sam Windsor, Australia, scored a try in the 73rd minute, and Kolinisau ended the scoring with a try in the 75th minute. Pangelinan was 5-for-5 on conversion kicks in the second half.
“My leg is a little tired,” Pangelinan admitted. “On a normal practice day I will usually practice kicking for 35 to 40 minutes. Last week I missed a few kicks and I got down on myself, so I am happy with tonight.”
When Pangelinan kicks, he tilts the ball forward, just the opposite of a football kicker.
“Each kicker has a different style of kicking. Some have the ball upright, but I like to tilt it forward. I find it’s easier to hit the sweet spot of the ball when it is tilted forward, and that gives me better accuracy,” Pangelinan said.
During this exhibition season, the SaberCats are giving a number of players some playing time to determine their rotation for the regular season.
“We learned a lot tonight. We were able to test some of our guys who haven’t had a lot of work yet. The Selects came to play, and they were very physical,” SaberCats head coach Justin Fitzpatrick said. “I thought we made some good adjustments at halftime and we were able to pull away in the second half.”
The SaberCats meet the Chicago Lions on Saturday night at 7 p.m. at Constellation Field.