Seawolves Fall Short in Houston Week One, Earn Bonus Point in Road Opener


HOUSTON, TEXAS (March 20, 2021) - The Seattle Seawolves traveled to Houston, Texas to face the SaberCats in the first of their five away-game stretch of their 2021  Major League Rugby (MLR) campaign. Heading into their fourth clash, historically Seattle has proved dominant with their 3-0 franchise record against the SaberCats. A scrappy game from both sides ended with a win for the home team after Houston capitalized on Seattle’s high turnover count and missed opportunities, 24-30 Houston.

Seattle opened up the scoring for the evening after back and forth play from both sides, with Seattle debutant lock Les Soloai powering over the try line while flyhalf Ben Cima add the extra points, 7-0 Seattle. Houston immediately answered back with 3 points of their own after a penalty against Seattle. Handling errors and missed opportunities began to cause issues for the visiting team as Houston added another three points at the 27th minute. After a potential injury to Cima, Suniula slotted in at fly half and added energy to Seattle's attack. Wing Aaron Matthews carried strong, but isolated, turned over the ball and Houston took the ball 80 meters for their first lead of the night, 7-13 Houston. Seattle was able to answer back with strategic kicking, setting up a try for another new signing on debut, lock Rhyno Herbst who muscled through two Houston defenders for a try. Fullback Mat Turner converted the kick after, 14-13 Seattle heading into half time.

Turner added three more points off his boot a few minutes into the second half as Houston was penalized right at the kickoff, 17-13 Seattle. The SaberCats answered with a technical try under the posts, no kick needed for an automatic seven points. 17-20 Houston. A strong counterattack after the restarting kick off allowed big runs into Houston territory, setting up the chance for vice captain and outside center Ross Neal for his first MLR try. Kick was good from the sidelines by Turner, 24-20 Seattle. Discipline with ball in hand still proved an issue for Seattle into the 60th minute of the game as chances to score turned into possession for Houston. With a strong defensive stand from Seattle for multiple phases of play, the SaberCats finally exploited space out wide for their third try of the match and a converted kick, 24-27 Houston. After technical errors in the set piece, Houston was awarded another penalty opportunity that turned into three more points, 24-30 Houston. Only three minutes remained for Seattle to make a comeback and after progress on offense, a missed pass ended up out of bounds and dwindled Seattle's chance for the win. Houston retained possession in the line out and kicked the ball into the stands to end the game. Final score 24-30 Houston. Although defeated, Seattle picked up a losing bonus point for keeping the score within 7 points or less.

Seattle will travel to Los Angeles next weekend to face MLR’s newest franchise, the Giltinis, at the Los Angeles Memorial Colosseum Sunday, March 28 at 5:30 PM PT. Local and regional viewers can watch via ROOT SPORTS, and all domestic and international viewers can tune in with The Rugby Network streaming service. 

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Carly MacKinnon
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