Rugby returned to Sugar Land as the Houston SaberCats opened their preseason schedule with a 14-10 loss to the Austin Elite last Friday at Constellation Field.
The SaberCats scored first as Zach Pangelinan scored a try at the 30:22 mark. The conversion kick was no good and Houston had a 5-0 lead.
The rest of the first half saw both teams come close to scoring but both defenses were dominant.
The SaberCats scored again in the 56th minute as Alex Elkins rammed his way over the try line. The conversion kick was again missed and the SaberCats had a 10-0 lead.
Austin immediately responded as Ben Mitchell powered his way over the try line in the 58th minute. Mitch Romero’s conversion kick was good, and the Houston lead was narrowed to 10-7.
Ten minutes later, Aden McMullen scored a try for Austin and after Romero’s successful conversion kick, Austin was up 14-10.
The last twelve minutes were scoreless, and the final score was Austin Elite 14 and Houston 10.
Last year, SaberCat Sam Windsor led the league in scoring. Windsor thought the SaberCats played well for the first match of the year, but need to improve in some areas.
“We learned a lot of things tonight. We learned we need to be a little more disciplined. I think that was a trait of ours last season. It was a point of focus last season and I think tonight, it got the better of us,” he said. “We slipped into some bad habits, but credit Austin. They gave us a good fight. But tonight, was a trial game, no points on the standings, but it was good to be back at Constellation Field. The fans were awesome as always. It didn’t rain for the most part, and we will be happy to give it a go next week.”
The SaberCats are beginning their second season in Major League Rugby and will play their first five home games at Constellation Field as they await the opening of AVEVA Stadium on March 23 against the Utah Warriors. The SaberCats next game is Jan. 19 against the Glendale Raptors at Constellation Field.
The remaining games to be played at Constellation Field include Feb. 22 against the Toronto Arrows, March 2 against Rugby United New York, and March 16 against the New Orleans Gold.