Utah Warriors & Saia Uhila
The Utah Warriors added USA Islander Saia Uhila at No. 8 for the inaugural Major league Rugby 2018 season.
Uhila is 6’4 and 260 pounds and plays number 8. He grew up in Tonga playing 1st XV rugby at Liahona High School in Liahona, Tonga. Family members in Tonga support each other and his younger brother Loni was a talented rugby player. Saia encouraged him to fulfill his dream of being a professional rugby player. Loni took it from there and “the Tongan Bear” played for the Hurricanes Super Rugby team and most recently for Clermont in France.
After Uhila moved to the United States, he played for the Oceanside Chiefs in 2013 and during his tenure there, captained the team. He also played for the Oceanside U19s. In 2015 he played with the East Palo Alto Bulldogs. He also played for the Life West Gladiators in the USA Club National 7s that same year. Earlier in 2015, he represented the Northern California Pelicans Select team in Las Vegas where the team defeated the Texas All-Stars 41-36.
Uhila played the last two seasons with the Utah Brothers in the Rugby Utah Men’s Premier Division. In 2016 the Spartans beat Utah Brothers 15-10 in the Championship Final as Uhila played inside-center. Utah Brothers then won the 2017 title, wihUhila captaining the team. In 2017 Uhila also played for the Rugby Utah Selects XV, as well as for the USA Islanders against the Saracens in Bermuda in August.
Uhila said “Rugby is my passion. I’m ready to put everything I have into the success of this team” said Uhila. “I’ve been playing rugby in the states for a while now and I’ve noticed a few different mindsets; some people are afraid of change and are comfortable with where they are. I like change, I like progression. To me, that’s what the Warriors are about: change and progression”.
Warriors Head Coach Alf Daniels added that “Saia is one of those players that you’re glad is your teammate, not your opponent. He’s a very physical player but has great speed. Saia was one of the top individual performers in the MPD last season and earned his spot on the USA Islanders squad all while playing through a leg injury. He works hard, is vocal and leads from the front”.
- Alf Daniels – Head Coach
- Paul Lasike – Center
- John Cullen – Lock, Backrow
- Lote Tuipulotu – Hooker (Prop)
- Alex Tucci – No.8
- Kenny Scott – Flanker, Wing
- Saia Uhila – No. 8