Utah Warriors & Wolf Pack Rugby
The Utah Warriors exploded for a 40-7 lead at the break over Wolf Pack Rugby and won 80-12. Josh Whippy was the Man of the Match with four tries, however, in the 73rd minute the match was stopped early as Whippy needed medical attention. Nobody likes to see someone injured and the thoughts of many will go out to Josh, his family, and the team.
The Warriors will savor the win and then turn their attention to their opening match at the San Diego Legion on Sunday, April 29. The crowd was behind the home team enjoying the match in the Warriors new facility at Zion Bank Stadium in Herriman, Utah.
Prior to this match, the Utah Warriors scored only 35 points in losses to the Glendale Raptors 42-15 and then falling short to the Ontario Arrows 24-20, despite a comeback.
The Wolf Pack Rugby opened their three-match exhibition season on Sunday, April 15 with a 47-7 loss to the Seattle Seawolves and are 0-2 after the loss to the Utah Warriors. The team will play the Royal Air Force. in their final match. This stiff competition will prepare them for the Canadian Rugby Championship in July.
With the Canada National team camp, the Wolf Pack have five starters there and another was injured during the match against the Seawolves.
Utah Warriors vs. Wolf Pack Recap
The Utah Warriors drew first blood in the second minute after a Jared Whippy chip and chase by Josh Whippy, who gathered the ball and went in for the first try. Jared Whippy slotted the conversion for a 7-0 lead.
One minute later Angus Maclellan was sent to the bin after a high tackle. Maika Hafoka came into the front row at the first scrum and Kenny Scott left the pitch.
Wolf Pack flyhalf went weak off their scrum and the Warriors were again penalized for a high tackle. Once Utah got the ball into their hands, Saia Uhila went in for a try and Jared Whippy converted for a 14-0 lead, despite being down a man.
The Warriors then pushed the score to 21-0 from an intercept of an O’Farrell pass and Jared Whippy added the conversion.
The Warriors went on the attack again after Jake Robinson kick did not find touch. Fetu’u Vainikolo had a break and offloaded to Tonata Lauti for the try. This time Jared Whippy kick went wide.
Discipline continued to haunt the Warriors as Lote Tu’ipulotu received a warning for a high tackle. Soon after, the Warriors stole a Wolf Pack lineout and were able to capitalize on a Matt Jensen try and a Jared Whippy conversion for a 33-0 lead.
In the 35th minute the Wolf Pack scored their first try after a 5-meter lineout and then a penalty resulted in a try by scrumhalf Jake Robinson. Evan Thomas then converted narrowing the lead to 33-7. In the 40th minute, Josh Whippy stole the ball and offloaded to Alex Tucci for a try and another Whippy conversion to lead 40-7 at the break.
The momentum continued in Warriors favor in the second half as Tonata Lauti intercepted a pass, danced around defenders and offloaded to Kory Olsen. The Warriors had numbers and Josh Whippy capitalized for a hat-trick try. Jared Whippy added a dropkick and the score was 47-7.
The Warriors increased the lead after a run by Paul Lasike and then by Saia Uhila for a try, converted by Whippy. The Wolf Pack answered back with Adam Bontus going in from near the line, but Evan Thomas missed just right of the posts (54-12).
The Warriors still added three more tries. The first was by Ben Nicholls who went blind from the breakdown. Whippy missed the conversion and would be 8 for 10 on the night. The second came with Jared Whippy threading the opposition for a try near the corner and Paki Afu slotted the conversion to lead 73-7. The last try resulted from a Josh Andrson offload to Jared Whippy for a try and an Afu conversion as the lead increased to 80-12.
Soon Josh Whippy was finished for the night when a stretcher was brought out and after attending to him, the match was called in the 73rd minute.
The Utah Warriors utilized a strong back line to roll over a depleted and young Wolf Pack team. The team still has issues with their set pieces as at times they were on their back foot in the scrum. It was in the lineouts that some of the throws were off target and also discipline was a concern.
In the match, there was an early yellow card to Angus Maclellan and then a couple more warnings for high tackles. In the second half, Fetu’u Vainikolo made a dangerous tackle and received a red card for a tackle on Jake Bentley.
The Utah Warriors will turn their attention to the San Diego Legion, however, they lost two of their starting backs, one to a red card and the other which could be a season-ending injury.
Utah Warriors & Wolf Pack Squads
Utah Warriors: 1 Alex Tucci, 2 Lote Tu’ipulotu, 3 Angus MacLellan, 4 Matt Jensen, 5 Kory Olsen, 6 Kendrick Scott, 7 Wineera Elkington, 8 Saia Uhila (co-capt.), 9 Ben Nicholls, 10 Jared Whippy, 11 Fetu’u Vainikolo, 12 Paul Lasike (capt.), 13 Josh Whippy, 14 Josh Anderson, 15 Tonata Lauti 16 Ray Forrester, 17 Maika Hafoka, 18 Peni Pahulu, 19 Lance Williams, 20 Ara Elkington, 21 Joseph Nicholls, 22 Paki Afu, 23 Vernon Ale, 24 AJ Tu’ineau + Head Coach Alf Daniels
Wolf Pack: 1 Gareth Brown (Nor’Westers Athletic Association) 2 Gabrial Kajdy (Canucks RFC) 3 Logan Jones (Canucks RFC) 4 Riley Fahlman (Regina Campion Grads) 5 James Blanchard (Bow Valley RFC) 6 Connor Gilbert (Bow Valley RFC) 7 Kyle Morrison (Nor’Westers Athletic Association) 8 FJ Bronkhorst (Canucks RFC / Regina Rouges) 9 Jake Robinson* (Albert RFC) 10 Ruairi O’Farrell (Canucks RFC) 11 Jake Bentley (Canucks RFC) 12 Derek Arnold (Canucks RFC) 13 Adam Bontus (Albert RFC) 14 Liam O’Hallahan (Grande Prairie) 15 Evan Thomas (Leprechaun Tigers) 16 Anthony Battistone (Bow Valley RFC 17 Simon Miller (Nor’Westers Athletic Association 18 Robert Blunden (Albert RFC) 19 Jacob Horton (Canucks RFC) 20 Mark Discombe (Regina Rouges / Westshore RFC) 21 Richard Migneault (Calgary Saints RFC) 22 Ian Shoults (Bow Valley RFC)
* Only international is Jake Robinson (1 cap).
Unavailable for Selection: McAuley, C. Line, W. Hodgen, G. Crowell, G. Bowd, C. Spence, N. Blevins, B. Lesage, D. Mcguire, C. Pockock,
Staff: Coaches Jeremy Kyne, Tyler Hawes, Simon Dodd, Manager Jim Kazakoff, Athletic Therapist James McDonald
Utah Warriors Pre-season
- March 30 vs Glendale Raptors (L 42-15) Preview
- April 7 vs. Ontario Arrows (L 24-20) Preview + match recap vs. Glendale
- April 20 vs Prairie Wolf Pack (W 80-12) Preview
Utah Warriors 2018 Major League Rugby Season
- April 29 at San Diego Legion
- May 5 vs Glendale Raptors
- May 11 vs Austin Elite Rugby
- May 20 at Seattle Seawolves
- May 26 at Houston SaberCats
- June 2 at Austin Elite Rugby
- June 16 vs New Orleans Gold
- June 23 vs Houston SaberCats
DJCoil Rugby articles by Doug Coil are also available on Facebook. Other Social Media sites to follow or subscribe include Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube for interviews.