Utah Warriors Host Wolf Pack Rugby in Final Pre-Season Match

Utah Warriors & Wolf Pack Rugby

The Utah Warriors have a bye week one as the Major League Rugby season opens on Saturday, April 21. Ahead of the team’s opening match at the San Diego Legion on Sunday, April 29, the Utah Warriors will play their third and final pre-season match against the Wolf Pack Rugby in their new field at Zion Bank Stadium in Herriman, Utah at 7 pm MDT. Tickets are still available.

The Utah Warriors have faced stiff competition in the pre-season losing to the Glendale Raptors 42-15 and then executing a strong second half performance against the Ontario Arrows, just coming up short, 24-20.

The Wolf Pack Rugby opened their three-match exhibition season on Sunday, April 15 with a 47-7 loss to the Seattle Seawolves. After the match against the Utah Warriors, they will play the Royal Air Force. This stiff competition will prepare them for the Canadian Rugby Championship in July.

Earlier in the week, the Utah Warriors announced the signing of Tonga’s all-time leading point scorer, Kurt Morath.

Utah Warriors

Utah Warriors Head Coach Alf Daniels has made six changes and two positional changes from his squad that faced the Ontario Arrows.

In the forwards, Alex Tucci moves back to loosehead prop from playing tighthead last week. Lote Tu’ipulota returns at hooker and Angus Maclellan starts at tighthead. Co-captain Saia ‘Uhila moves from lock to No. 8 with Kory Olsen at lock, along with Matt Jensen, who retains his starting position. The flankers also remain unchanged with Kenny Scott and Win Elkington.

In the backs, Ben Nicholls returns at scrumhalf, he was a catalyst in the second half comeback against the Arrows. He will pair with Jared Whippy, who will start for the third consecutive time at flyhalf. Also retaining their starting role are both wings. Fetu’u VAinikolo is a powerful runner and a scoring threat. Josh Anderson is a tall player who also has featured in the scoring. Add co-captain and Eagle Paul Lasike to the mix, adding power to the attack. He is paired with another Eagle in Josh Whippy at outside center, who rejoins the starters. Also moving into the starting XV is Tonata Lauti at fullback.

Wolf Pack Rugby

The Wolf Pack Rugby squad selected for the April 20 match against the Utah Warriors is a side includes one international cap in scrumhalf Jake Robinson. There are five first time caps and four-second time caps for the team.

The Wolf Pack opened their 2018 season last Sunday with a 47-7 loss to the Seattle Seawolves at Pat Ryan Field in Tukwila, Washington. The match was not open to the public and team information was not shared. All Seawolves players were available.

On Friday, April 20 the team will face their second Major League Rugby team, the Utah Warriors, at Zion Bank Stadium in Herriman, Utah. The Warriors charged back against the Ontario Arrows in a close 24-20 loss. The final exhibition season will conclude on on Saturday, June 16, 2018, at the Calgary Rugby Park, when they will face the Royal Air Force, who competes in the Interservice Rugby Competition in England.

A tough exhibition season was designed in advance before their Canadian Rugby Championship league play commences on July 27, 2018.

Jim Kazakoff, manager of the Wolf Pack, said, “We were able to secure preparation games this season that were unavailable to us in past years. This will go a long way to help prepare the team for the 2018 season.”

“The 2018 Canadian Rugby Championship competition — featuring the Atlantic Rock, BC Bears, Ontario Blues and Prairie Wolf Pack —has the Wolf Pack Playing the 2017 CRC Champion BC Bears in a home and home series. The Rock and the Blues will also engage in a home and home series. These matches will determine the seeding for the championship round.”

“All four teams then travel to Calgary for the semifinals and finals matches.  The Semifinals will take place on Thursday, August 23, 2018, and the Championship and Bronze medal matches will take place on Sunday, August 26, 2018. All matches will be played at the Calgary Rugby Park, 9025 Shepard Road SE, Calgary, AB.”

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

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

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North American Rugby News With A USA Slant