The Utah Warriors are hosting the Life West Gladiators PRP side in a scrimmage on Saturday, January 12 at Zions Bank Real Academy turf field at 5 pm MT.
This is the first 2019 preseason action for the Utah Warriors in advance of their Major League Rugby regular season opener on February 1 at 8 pm MT against Austin Elite Rugby.
Last weekend Life West traveled to Southern California for a match against San Diego Legion. The Legion jumped out to a 64-0 lead and the break and ended winning the match 76-0. Flyhalf Joe Pietersen placed the team under pressure with his tactical kicking.
Playing two Major League Rugby teams will help the Gladiators prepare for the Pacific Rugby Premiership opener on January 26 with the team traveling to play San Francisco Golden Gate Rugby Club. Gate played the Seattle Seawolves last weekend, losing 45-0, to help in preparation for their season.
Life West Head Coach Adriaan Ferris discussed players to watch. “They included Devereaux Ferris, who played in the Americas Pacific Challenge and for the Eagles against Samoa. He is under consideration with the Eagles for the Americas Rugby Championship, as well as for other MLR teams. He performed well last week behind a forward pack that was under a lot of pressure from a very strong Legion pack. Moni Tongauiha played for NOLA Gold in last year’s inaugural season. He has converted from an Outside Center to Blindside Flanker. He is a hard working versatile player who is looking to develop into a top-level No. 6.”
Several other players on the team have played professionally with the San Francisco Rush in 2016. These include Jay Finau at hooker, Fancy Namulauulu at prop, Maka Tameilau, Junior Helu. Gil Covey played with San Diego Legion.
The Utah Warriors will be announcing their 2019 MLR squad on Tuesday. They lost Paul Lasike, Kurt Morath, and Ben Nicholls, the latter who will be a coach in the organization. The Warriors have the MLR leading try scorer in Tonata Lauti with 9 tries, while Lote Tu’ipulotu had 4.
The Warriors advanced to the MLR semifinals last year and hope to improve on that performance this year.
Major League Rugby has increased the number of international players this year, with domestic players being for the U.S. and Canada. Teams have sought to strengthen there squads and the Warriors have done this as well.
It needs to be mentioned that the Utah Warriors has not released any team player information for 2019. The following information on players is based on reports from USA Rugby, the rugby news media, player sightings, and self identification.
It is reported that Eagles prop Huluholo Mo’ungaloa and South African prop Franco Van den Berg have joined the team with Angus MacLellan, Alex Tucci, and Maika Hafoka returning at prop. Hookers include Daniel Logan from New Zealand and
The backs include returning scrumhalf Joseph Nicholls, also with Mystic River and New England Freejacks Ian Luciano and Jake Christmann, who played with the Glendale Raptors last year.
With the loss of Kurt Morath at flyhalf, the team has added Brazil flyhalf Josh Reeves and Ratu Peceli Rinakama, who played with NOLA Gold last year. Returning centers include Fetu’u Vainikolo, who played in the RWC7s for Tonga, A.J. Tu’ineau, and Jared Whippy and may include newly capped Eagle,
The back-three include wings Tonata Lauti, Josh Anderson, and Jeremy Misailegalu, who played with the Seattle Seawolves last season. Don Pati and Josh Whippy are at fullback.
Utah is likely to have some other surprises, but the speculation about their 2019 MLR team will be more apparent after this weekend and following Tuesday’s team announcement. Credit American Rugby News for breaking several new players that may be associated with the team.
Earlier the Utah Warriors announced their 2019 coaching staff and a pathway from you to professional rugby.
Utah Warriors: TBA, Head Coach Alf Daniels.
Life West Gladiators PRP Side: 1 Tone Ngaluafe 2 Jay Finau (VC) 3 Fancy Namulauulu 4 Eminoni Mafi 5 Sebastian Grimberg 6 Moni Tongauiha 7 Benji Foliola 8 Maka Tameilau 9 Devereaux Ferris (C) 10 Jim Mule 11 Junior Tongauiha 12 Jojo Vuatalevu 13 Lisiate Huihui 14 Fatai Vailala 15 Tyler Hutcherson 16 Tino Mafi (Hooker) 17 Simi Hingano (Prop) 18 Ale Lopeti (Prop) 19 Gil Covey (Hooker / Prop) 20 Sione Molitika (Lock) 21 Naibuka Tawake (Loose Forward) 22 Junior Helu (Halfback) 23 Pio Vatuvei (Midfield / Loose Forward) 24 Keoni Dellermann (Outside Backs) 25 Pita Semeane (Loose Forward) 26 Siaosi Lata (Loose Forward) 27 Pei Tameifuna (Midfield / Outside Backs)
LW Coaching & Medical Staff: Coach: Adriaan Ferris Team Doctor: Dr. Scott Lessard Athletic Trainer: Kelly Farmer, ATC
LW Unavailable for selection: Zach Bonte – National Boards, Guillaume Cazenave – National Boards, Meli Ratumaimuri – work, Langi Haupeakui – work, Martini Talapusi – Injury, Zavi Ginsella – Injury, Mose Fuala’au – Injury, Siupeli Sakalia – Playing D2 v Sacramento, Marshall Ferris – Playing D2 v Sacramento, Kalafitoni Pole – Playing D2 v Sacramento, Justin Davenport – Playing D2 v Sacramento
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