Don’t look now, but the first-year Houston United are 4-0 in DII Texas play after beating Oklahoma City 24-13 Saturday in Houston. The club is part re-branding and part new venture, sprouting from the former St. Thomas University side.
“We’ve about 10 originals from the St. Thomas days, and then we’ve done some heavy recruiting here in town,” said United coach Daniel Green.
“We’re pretty much the most centralized Houston team. Where other Houston teams train on the outskirts of town, we train pretty much in the middle, so we’ve been lucky in that respect.”
United’s win over the Crusaders didn’t come easy, nor have any of their wins so far. They edged now 0-4 Katy by one point, Bay Area by 12 and Alamo City by 13.
“It was in the forwards most of the game. Both backlines didn’t get much opportunity, because the loose forwards on both sides were fairly dominant in spoiling a lot of ball,” said Green of Saturday’s game. “It was really stop, start – A lot of scrums, a lot of lineouts, a lot of dirty ball. In the end, we came out after halftime and put a solid 15 minutes in and turned the game.”
Though the ball didn’t get wide often, Houston capitalized when it did, as wing Justin Blocker ran in two tries. His brother, Jayson, contributed one and lock Stephen Lopez another.
Green attributes the team’s success to a recommitment to what brought most of us to the game of rugby to begin with – the prospect of fun.
“We’re just trying to do some different things down there, different training methods, trying to make it more fun,” he said.
“I’ve played a long time, and I’ve been to a lot of training rounds that weren’t much fun, and we’re just trying to make it a little bit more enjoyable, trying to bring the social aspect back into the game. At the end of the day, that’s what it comes down to, man. That’s why people play, to have fun.”
The United take a break now for the holidays and return to action Jan. 19th against Dallas Athletic Rugby Club.