The Utah Warriors have announced their coaching staff for the 2019 Major League Rugby season and a pathway from youth rugby to playing at the professional level.
Coaching a professional team is a challenge and Utah Warriors Head Coach Alf Daniels has reflected on the team’s last season’s performance and now looks for them to improve on a semi-final playoff appearance.
With this in mind, Daniels has added Stevie Scott as forwards coach and James Semple as the backs and kicking coach.
Scott played professional rugby from 1999 to 2006 and coached at both the Scottish Premier League amateur level and the Scottish National team. He was recommended by USA Rugby Men’s Eagles Head Coach Gary Gold.
Semple played in the BT Scotland Premiership and was the Waikato Rugby Development Coach. Kicking accuracy in the attack is an important skill for backs and he will add expertise in this area. Semple will also serve as the Warriors Academy Coach.
The team also hired Mark Drown as the team manager. After he retired from the Army National Guard in August, he worked with the Fiji Sevens team.
The Deseret News has a more comprehensive examination of the Warriors Coaching staff and the challenges that they faced and how they are trying to address team concerns.
The team has addressed the importance of having an experienced management team. They also will be emphasizing the importance of fitness and conditioning. Sica Glauser, the Team Trainer, will have an integral role in working with the players.
Former Utah Warrior Ben Nicholls, will head the Warriors Selects, which is discussed under Player Pathway below.
The Utah Warriors are also addressing the need for developing a player and coach development pathway by partnering with Utah Youth Rugby (UYR), Utah’s local collegiate programs and the Rugby Utah Men’s Premier Division (MPD).
The combined partnerships will establish community youth, high school, collegiate and club player development opportunities in the combined forms of the Utah Warriors Selects program and Utah Warriors Academy.
The organization recently launched a Junior Warriors program to support children’s and youth rugby. Utah Youth Rugby President sees this as a major development that will help youth to build character, as well as creating opportunities to develop select side players.
For more information on the Warriors Academy and for tryout details please
“At the top end of the Utah Warriors pathway is the Warriors Selects Program. In partnership with the Rugby Utah Men’s Premier Division and in coordination with local collegiate teams, the Warriors Selects players will train alongside the Utah Warriors on a limited but regular basis with the possible incentive for future inclusion into the Utah Warriors Major League Rugby squad.”
According to Head Coach Alf Daniels, the Selects Program can develop future MLR talent and can reward both collegiate and Men’s Premier Division standouts.
Former Utah Warrior Ben Nicholls, will head the Warriors Selects. He was a two-time National Champoion Club Sevens head coach of Rugby Utah Selects in 2016 and 2017 and a Zimbabwean National Team member.
The full Utah Warriors article about the Pathway Partnership may be viewed.
“The Warriors Selects will fill out the remainder of the coaching staff through open applications. All UYR, MPD, and Collegiate
“With limited spots available for Warriors Selects players, Utah Warriors and Selects coaches will work with MPR and Collegiate coaches to build the inaugural roster for the Warriors Selects program. Player nominations can be sent to WarriorsSelects@WarriorsRugby.com and are due by January 22nd.”
MPD Manager Efiafi Fekitoa feels that the partnership with the Utah Warriors “is a huge opportunity for the MPD teams and players to grow and develop the game locally. Newly hired BYU Rugby head coach and former USA Eagle Steve St. Pierre shared Fekitoa’s sentiment.
Kimball Kjar noted “the recent launch of the Junior Warriors program, a clinic and experience-based kids club for players and fans aged 5-16 years old. The JR. Warriors will partner with Utah Youth Rugby (UYR), the state ’s governing body for youth and high school rugby, to support the growing needs of UYR and to introduce more kids to America’s fastest growing team sport.”
“After progressing from the JR. Warriors and Utah Youth Rugby players can look to participate in the newly-established Utah Warriors Academy. The Warriors Academy will develop aspiring high school players ages 14-18 into possible future Major League Rugby players. The Utah Warriors Academy will be led by newly appointed Warriors assistant coach James Semple, who will also serve as the Warriors Academy Manager.”
“The Warriors Academy will be an elite supplementary development team in support of Utah Youth Rugby high school teams and All-Star programs. The Academy is set to launch in February with a player try-out on January 26th at the Zions Bank Real Academy. Spots for the inaugural Warriors Academy group will be limited to 40 players (20 U16 players and 20 U18 players).”