SaberCats Add to Their Pride
The Houston SaberCats continue to bolster their 2021 roster with Canadian talent. Director of Rugby Paul Healy has developed a solid relationship between the SaberCats and Jamie Cudmore’s Pacific Pride Academy. This off-season has already seen Healy sign Pride prop Nik Hildebrand and they made a trade with the Utah Warriors to acquire Robbie Povey who already has 4 Canadian caps. Last week, Healy doubled his Canadian total by signing Pride scrumhalf Crosby Stewart and prop Liam Murray!
Stewart started his senior rugby career as a winger for the UVic Vikes and represented the BC Bears at that position as well. Stewart has since transitioned to scrumhalf where he was the first-choice option during the Pride’s inaugural season. The 26-year old also has plenty of experience in the sevens game as well.
As the SaberCats’ squad currently stands, Stewart looks in-line to be the 2nd choice scrumhalf behind De Wet Roos. Stewart has been invited to the Rugby Canada High-Performance Camp that will kick off next week.
Stewart and fellow Pride scrumhalf Brock Gallagher will join Jason Higgins of the Toronto Arrows as the scrumhalves in attendance at the camp. The High-Performance Camp could be a chance for all three players to raise their hand for consideration for selection to the national team.
The 23-year old Murray is a prop that is capable of playing both sides of the scrum, but he tends to favour loosehead. Prior to joining the Pride Murray has had stints in New Zealand (Counties Manukau) and England (Scarborough RUFC) before returning to Canada and suiting up for James Bay. Murray was also the starting loosehead for Canada at the U20 World Trophy. Murray will find himself in a formidable group of props that also features Pride teammate Nik Hildebrand, Val Lee-Lo, Charlie Connolly, Nicolas Solveyra, and Nikoloz Khatiashvili. Murray will be joining Stewart at the High-Performance Camp.
Stewart and Murray are the 16th and 17th Canadians signed to an American MLR team for the 2021 season:
Moe Abdelmonem (Austin Gilgronis-Flanker) Hank Stevenson (Dallas Jackals-Lock) Nik Hildebrand (Houston SaberCats-Prop) Liam Murray (Houston SaberCats-Prop) Crosby Stewart (Houston SaberCats-Scrumhalf Robbie Povey (Houston SaberCats-Flyhalf/Fullback) Josh Larsen (New England Free Jacks- Lock) Kyle Baillie (NOLA Gold- lock/back row) Eric Howard (NOLA Gold- Hooker) Doug Fraser (Old Glory DC- Centre/Wing) Ciaran Hearn (Old Glory DC- Centre) Matt Heaton (Rugby ATL- Flanker) Conor Keys (Rugby ATL- Lock) Quinn Ngawati (Rugby United New York-Centre) Josh Thiel (San Diego Legion- Centre) Brock Staller (Seattle Seawolves- Winger) Nick Taylor (drafted by Seattle Seawolves- Centre)
Additionally, last week, the LA Giltinis announced that Marc Carter will be joining their (pretty loaded) coaching staff for their inaugural season. Carter will serve as the Giltinis performance analyst. Carter’s resume includes stints at a Pro 14 Champions Scarlets club, the Welsh Rugby Union, and most recently Hong Kong Rugby Union.
Carter joins the Giltinis, but will have a dual role working with Rugby Canada. This is Kingsley Jones’ second hire that coincides with the coach joining an MLR side. New senior assistant coach Rob Howley will serve as a consultant to the Toronto Arrows.