October 29, 2015
Rugby Utah Roster for Halloween 7s
Photo: Halloween 7s
SALT LAKE CITY — Rugby Utah has released its official roster for the upcoming Halloween 7s Elite Invitational in Florida on Oct. 31-Nov. 1. Information concerning the roster is credited to Deseret News from an article by Jim Davis that was published Oct. 27, 2015.
The tournament is a premier invitational for top teams from across America and internationally with Rugby Utah being one of four regional Olympic Development Academy teams entering alongside four national teams from Canada, Argentina and the US, which is fielding two sides.
The tournament provides the opportunity to compete against international, as well as, elite domestic competition. The USA Eagles 7s Coaching staff will have an opportunity to assess player performances in preparation for both the World Series and to develop a National Eagles 7s development pool. Rio 2016 also looms in the distant future.
Rugby Utah has a strong Brigham Young University flavor, with 5 players on the side. Three of the Cougars joining the team are new to the ODA team with Kevin Schofield and Josh Anderson the lone holdovers.
Three former 7s internationals are also part of the squad. West Valley Men’s Club Mana includes, Meiohihifo Kuli, a former Tongan 7s National Team member who helped the Tongans take the bronze medal in the 2015 South Pacific Games. Ben Nicholls played for the Zimbabwean 7s National Team. Jason Pye was USA Eagles 7s player.
Kuli’s teammate Tonata Lauti, a former University of Utah All-American, also joins the ODA. The rest of the Rugby Utah ODA roster is filled with players returning from the team’s last assembly for the Elite City 7s Tournament in August.
The team is coached by former BYU All-American captain and USA 7s International Steve St. Pierre and will be assisted by former USA 7s International Nu’u Punimata and former University of Utah All-American Daniel Christensen.
Rugby Utah ODA director Kimball Kjar said the opportunities for player and coach development are increasing.
“Rugby in Utah is growing at undeniably successful rates,” Kjar said, “And its Rugby Utah’s goal and responsibility to build the essential development pathways for players, coaches and referees from our state who aspire to Olympic and international levels. The ODA team and the staff we’ve assembled are widening the pathway for players and coaches to grow, learn and compete at elite levels. We’re very excited about what the future holds and how this team will represent our great state.”
The development pathway Kjar speaks of has already shown results with BYU All-American and former USA U20 team member Tua Laei being picked by USA 7s head coach Mike Friday to participate in recent and upcoming USA 7s National Team training camps.
“The tryout process for this assembly was much more competitive than our last assembly,” St. Pierre said, “We now have a wider pool of players that we’re drawing from and we’re excited about the challenge and opportunity the Halloween 7s tournament affords the program as it continues to build opportunities for our players.”
Halloween 7s Tournament www.halloweenrugby7s.com.
Rugby Utah and the ODA www.RugbyUtah.com Follow them on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
RUGBY UTAH OLYMPIC DEVELOPMENT ACADEMY
TEAM FOR HALLOWEEN 7s TOURNAMENT—Oct. 31-Nov. 1
- Robbie Ah Sue, Park City-Haggis
- Josh Anderson, BYU
- Austin Griffin, Olympic Development Academy
- Meiohihifo Kuli. Mana
- Tonata Lauti, Mana
- Ben Nichols, Olympic Development Academy
- Joseph Nichols, BYU
- Jason Pye, Olympic Development Academy
- Kevin Schofield, BYU
- Will Taylor, Olympic Development Academy
- Josh Whippy, BYU
- Jared Whippy, BYU
- Head coach: Steve St. Pierre
- Assistant coach: Nu’u Punimatta