Dallas Jackals Lose Home Opener 38-33 to the Houston SaberCats

Dallas Jackals
The Dallas Jackals logo. | Image by The Dallas Jackals

Each week, the newest member of Major League Rugby inches closer to victory. The Dallas Jackals have a lot to be proud of despite the heartbreaking last-minute defeat at the hands of the Houston SaberCats on February 19. The final score of 38-33 came as the two clubs were knotted at 33 in the overtime period before Houston exploited the right side of the Jackals line to earn a try and make history.

Expectations were high for the Jackals leading into the game. After a narrow defeat last week at the hands of the San Diego Legion, the Jackals were in a position to earn the first team victory of the season — and do it in front of their first home crowd. The Jackals played with passion and intensity, matching up with the SaberCats players for the full 80-minutes.

The Dallas team led by a score of 33-21 after the hour mark but made errors in the ruck that allowed Houston to mount a comeback. Houston scored two tries in the final five minutes to tie the match, then claimed victory after Dallas failed to tackle on the outside. The SaberCats’ Christian Dyer got credit for the game-winner as he crossed the touchline on the final play.

This was the second week that Dallas Number 8 Conrado Roura scored, getting two tries on the day at the 48-minute and 65-minute marks. The Jackals also got tries from Matt Frings (20’), Moe Abdelmonem (37’), and Michael Matarazzo (45’), along with four of five conversions from Adriaan Carelse. Carelse missed a penalty kick in the game.

The SaberCats came into the match as favorites to win following a dynamic Week 1 victory followed by a narrow defeat at New York last week, but it was the Jackals who put the pressure on throughout the match.

The most controversial moment of the game for Jackals fans occurred when Chad London appeared to have scored a try early in the game that would have put the Jackals up by a score. On review, it was determined that London was unable to get the ball to the ground.

Matarazzo was also nearly held-up on his bullying try, but the video review saw evidence enough to overturn the on-field referee call. He nearly had two tries in the match but failed on one in which another replay review led to a controversial outcome.

This time it was Dallas that benefited, after the review noticed the forearm of a SaberCat player making contact with Aaron Gray above the shoulders that resulted in a red card dismissal and gave Dallas a bonus try. The bonus led to the first try of the day for Roura as he broke on another maul for the score.

Roura’s second try was on a beautiful passing rhythm play that saw the speedster get free down the right flank and hook around to put the ball down between the uprights. That score gave the Jackals a 33-21 lead, but the SaberCats’ depth on the bench was too much to manage as the game clock ran out.

The match marked the first time in history that professional rugby was played in North Dallas.

Despite the heartbreaking loss and the fact that at 0-3, the inaugural season is quickly slipping away, the Jackals have shown improvement in each match so far after a drubbing in their Week 1 contest.

The Jackals will have another opportunity to end the losing streak and give home fans a victory this week when they take on the visiting Rugby New York.

Support our non-profit journalism

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Continue reading on the app
Expand article