Match Preview: Utah Warriors vs Old Glory DC

The Utah Warriors host Old Glory DC on Saturday, May 8 at 8 pm MT (10 pm ET) at Zions Bank Stadium. The match may be viewed on Fox Sports 2 and streamed internationally on The Rugby Network.

Utah Warriors are in third place in the MLR Western Conference with a 3-3 record and 19 points, trailing LA with 30, and Austin with 21. San Diego, Houston, and Seattle follow in the standings.

Old Glory DC is in sixth place in the Eastern Conference, but with a win, could jump higher in the standings and keep pace in the East.

Utah is coming off a bye week after a win over the Houston SaberCats. Old Glory was the latest of the LA victories last week. They then trained in Las Vegas, before arriving in Utah ahead of the match. The ten-day trip should be a bonding experience for the team.

Utah Warriors Head Coach Shawn Pitman has made two changes with Lance Williams returning at No.8 shifting Jurie Van Vuuren to lock. Josh Whippy also returns on right-wing. There is also one change in the reserves with Fraser Hurst replacing Danny Christensen.

Old Glory Head Coach has made four changes with Dante Lopresti getting his first start of the season at tighthead prop with Steven Longwell moving to the reserves. Tevita Naqali is out with a calf strain and Stan South returns at lock after serving a one-match suspension. In the backs, Doug Fraser returns on the right-wing after missing several matches with an injury. Dylan Taikato-Simpson joins the team at fullback where he started all five matches last season.

Reserve changes include Simi Moala and Luke Campbell who provide cover at the center, and in the back row.

Osea Kolinisau’s 2-week contract expired and he will not return to the team as Doug Fraser rejoined the team. Osea made his presence felt during the short time with Old Glory, scoring tries in both matches.

Both teams have demonstrated that they can score points. Look for a high-scoring affair! On paper, Utah appears to have an advantage in the set pieces. They have won 94.44% of their scrums compared with Old Glory at 87.5%. The team also has an edge in lineouts won. The lineouts likely will be even with Matt Jensen out. Old Glory’s Api Naikatini and Stan South should take their share of the ball.

Look for Old Glory to poach at the breakdown for turnovers and penalties that can lead to attempts at goal or for territory and to attack from lineouts. Watch Utah’s linebreaks, because the team is at the best being creative in the open field.

“Following this week’s decision by the State of Utah as part of the “COVID-19 endgame” bill to terminate all public health orders regarding COVID-19, the Utah Warriors have announced a change in seating and mask policies for future home games.”

For the match “on May 8 against Old Glory DC, masks will no longer be required for fans in attendance at Zions Bank Stadium in Herriman, Utah. While masks are now optional for fans in attendance they remain strongly encouraged for anyone inside the stadium and spectators are asked to be sensitive and courteous to their fellow fans as we adjust to these new protocols.”

“The Warriors will have seat options made available through the ticketing staff for any fans who have concerns regarding these changes to seating and mask policies and prefer to continue to wear masks and social distance.”

Fans love their rugby in Utah. Look for an increased attendance for the match who will be cheering for the home team. The atmosphere should be electric!

Following this match, Utah travels to LA and will play in the first match on May 15 at SoFi Stadium against the Giltinis. Old Glory returns home after a 10-day road trip and will face Seattle on May 16.

Update: A late change for Old Glory was tweeted that Mike Dabulas replaces Josh Brown in the reserves. This results in a 4/4 split.

Squads with Player Article Links

Utah Warriors: 1 Olive Kilifi 2 Veremalua Vugakoto 3 Angus Maclellan 4 Jurie Van VuurenAston Fortuin 6 Thomas Tu’avao 7 Bailey Wilson (c) 8 Lance Williams 9 Michael Baska10 Hagen Schulte 11 Joe Mano 12 Calvin Whiting 13  Mika Kruse 14 Josh Whippy 15  Mike Te’o  (VC) 16 Chad Gough 17 Alex Tucci 18 Paul Mullen 19 Mike Gieselman 20 Saia Uhila 21 Fraser Hurst 22 Derek Ellingson 23 James Vaifale

Old Glory DC: 1 Jamie Dever 2 Mikey Sosene-Feagai 3 Dante LoprestiApi Naikatini 5 Stan South 6 Callum Gibbins 7 Mungo Mason (c) 8 Jamason Fa’anana Schultz 9 Danny Tusitala 10 Jason Robertson 11 Renata Roberts-TeNana 12 Thretton Palamo (c) 13 Thomas Morani 14 Doug Fraser 15 Dylan Taikato-Simpson 16 Max Lum 17 Jack Iscaro 18 Steven Longwell 19 Casey Renaud 20  Mike Dabulas 21 Daniel Thomas 22 Simi Moala 23  Luke Campbell

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North American Rugby News With A USA Slant