Utah Warriors re-signed Saia Uhila for his sixth Major League Rugby season in 2023. The 35-year-old lock/back row (36 in February) is 6’4″ and 255 lbs.
Saia played in 12 matches during the 2022 season, bringing his career total to 55. in 2021 he played 363 minutes in 13 matches, starting 2.
During the truncated 2020 MLR season, Saia started one match as openside flanker and played the other four matches as a replacement. He played 178 minutes and scored 2 tries.
In 2019 Saia played 1146 minutes in all 16 matches. He carried the ball 136 times for 865 meters, made 159 tackles, and had 20 lineout takes. In 2018 he played 647 minutes in nine games, starting eight, and scoring two tries.
Saia grew up in Tonga playing 1st XV rugby at Liahona High School in Liahona, Tonga. Family members in Tonga support each other and his younger brother Loni was a talented rugby player. Saia encouraged him to fulfill his dream of being a professional rugby player. Loni took it from there and “the Tongan Bear” played for the Hurricanes Super Rugby team and most recently for Clermont in France.
After Saia moved to the United States, he played for the Oceanside Chiefs in 2013 and during his tenure there, captained the team. He also played for the Oceanside U19s. In 2015 he played with the East Palo Alto Bulldogs. He also played for the Life West Gladiators in the USA Club National 7s that same year. Earlier in 2015, he represented the Northern California Pelicans Select team in Las Vegas where the team defeated the Texas All-Stars 41-36.
Saia played for two seasons with the Utah Brothers in the Rugby Utah Men’s Premier Division. In 2016 the Spartans beat Utah Brothers 15-10 in the Championship Final as Uhila played inside-center. Utah Brothers then won the 2017 title, with Uhila captaining the team. In 2017 Uhila also played for the Rugby Utah Selects XV, as well as for the USA Islanders against the Saracens in Bermuda in August.
Saia was the vice-captain of the team during 2018. and his leadership and versatility in playing No. 8 and lock provide the team with flexibility based on team needs.
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