Free Jacks Take On Undefeated Houston SaberCats in MLR Heavyweight Matchup

When: Saturday, April 13, 2024 8:00pm EST

Where: Veterans Memorial Stadium, Quincy, MA

Watch: NBC Sports Boston, The Rugby Network


Match Preview:

Fresh off a dominant 25-3 win at home to Miami in Round 6, the Free Jacks are back on the road and headed to Houston, where they’ll encounter their toughest challenge yet, as they face the 5-0 Sabercats.

After a very good start to the season, New England currently sits 1st in the Eastern Conference with a 4-1 record, four points ahead of NOLA. While Houston is currently 2nd in the Western Conference, 1 point behind Seattle, but with one game less played.

There were many standouts for the Free Jacks in their commanding win against Miami, starting with lock Josh Larsen and no.8 Wian Conradie who made an impressive 25 and 24 tackles respectively. In the backs, Reece Macdonald had a busy afternoon once again as he led the team in carries (13) and running meters (166), and Le Roux Malan made his 2024 MLR debut after overcoming a serious injury. Piers Von Dadelszen also capped off another excellent performance by scoring his first try in the MLR. Against Houston look for the pack to be heavily involved in what will be a very physical game up front. Expect the likes of Mitch Jacobson and Wian Conradie to play a big role in it.



Houston is fresh off a bye week after beating the Dallas Jackals 27-30 in a thriller the previous week.

The Sabercats have so far been dominant both home and away, defeating Utah, RFCLA, Miami, Seattle, and Dallas on their way to a perfect 5-0 record to start the season.

Houston has a distinct South African flavor to their squad, starting with their coaching staff, led by Pote Human and former Springboks head coach Heyneke Meyer, as well as on the field, with captain Johan Momsen leading the charge from the second row, and with the dangerous 9-10 combination of André Warner and Davy Coetzer.

Expect Houston to play a very physical and direct brand of rugby, especially in the first half, consisting of big ball carriers crashing at the line, and backed up by an accurate kicking game in order to control territory. Watch out for some of their in-form players so far in 2024, which include hooker Pita Anae-Ah Sue, back rower Ronan Murphy, and center Tautalatasi Tasi.


All time against Houston


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