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Utah Beats Houston In A Back & Forth Affair, 36-30

The Utah Warriors traveled to Texas to take on the Houston Sabercats. Utah was able to make enough plays to walk away from the win. Houston had multiple chances to get the victory, but let them slip through their grasp. 

Sam Windsor added to his league leading points total with a penalty kick to start the scoring on the day. Osea Kolinsau was in the right position to finish the Sabercats first try. He was right there for the offload to dot down under the sticks after Houston broke through the Warriors defense. Windsor converted to put the Sabercats up 10-0.

Matt Jensen responded just a few minutes later for the Warriors. Jensen ran through Houston arm tackles to dot down under the posts. Lance Williams added a second straight try for Utah. He slipped through a Houston defense that didn't get set in time. Kurt Morath converted to put the Warriors up 14-10.

In his first match back from suspension, Josua Vici added a try for the Fijian brace. Houston worked their way down into Utah territory before Vici received the offload in space and powered over for the try. Sam Windsor extended the Houston lead to 20-14 with a penalty kick from the halfway mark. Kurt Morath converted a penalty kick to bring the Warriors to within three points of a tied game right before halftime.

It was an up and down first half for both teams. Houston had chances, but threw them away and so did the Warriors. Houston's defense stood tall at points but looked soft at others, as they let Utah run right through them at those points. Utah's scrum looked a mess, they were only bailed out thanks to penalties called against Houston.

Don Pati put the Warriors back into the lead early in the second half. Pati received the offload and out ran the Sabercats defense for the try. Alexander Tucci was sent off with a yellow card for not being back 10 meters after a penalty. Sam Windsor took the points on offer for the Sabercats and brought the Warriors lead down to one point, 24-23.

Tonata Lauti added a try for the man-down Warriors. The Warriors went wide to Kurt Morath who offloaded to Lauti for the try. Connor Murphy in his usual cheeky fashion scored a try for Houston. The Utah feed in the scrum went straight out the back and Murphy picked it up and went in almost untouched for the try. Windsor converted to give Houston the lead back 30-29.

In the final lead change of the match, Lote Tu'ipulotu dotted down for the Warriors. Don Pati started the play by busting through the Sabercats defense. The Warriors recycled the ball wide until it got into Tu'ipulotu's hands who went over for the try.

The Warriors were able to grind out the wind in the end. They stopped a Houston maul, they forced a turnover off a Houston scrum, and they went through pick and go phases for the last three minutes of the match to secure the victory.

Houston looked to be in the driver's seat at the start of this match, but the holes in their defense let them down. The Warriors scored a couple trys that they had no business scoring, solely because of the Sabercats porous defense. They will need to work on that if they have any hope of making the playoffs. Their offense had some moments, but not enough firepower to finish the match.

After a good, but disappointing performance against Seattle last week, Utah will walk away happy with their efforts. The defense stepped up from last week. The scrum still needs a little work, as the only reason it wasn't total domination by the Sabercats was because Houston committed scrum penalties. The Warriors did have moments of let off, but they played hard enough for long enough to earn the victory.

Utah has a short week, as they head to Texas to take on Austin on Friday, June 1st. Houston is back next Saturday, June 2nd as they welcome Seattle to Dyer Stadium in the CBS Sports Game of the Week.

Man of the Match
Utah: Don Pati
Houston: Osea Kolinisau

Tries: Matt Jensen (9), Lance Williams (13), Donn Pati (44), Tonata Lauti (49), Lote Tu'ipulotu (69)

Cons: Kurt Morath 4/5

Pens: Kurt Morath 1/1 (38)

Yellow Card: Alex Tucci 46 (Not Back 10)

Tries: Osea Kolinisau (6), Josua Vici (18), Connor Murphy (62)

Cons: Sam Windsor 3/3

Pens: Sam Windsor 3/3 (3, 23, 47)

~Josh Fredlund