SAN FRANCISCO — The Utah Warriors rugby team placed third in the Men’s Club Rugby 7s National Championship.
“It’s disappointing not too win and it was absolutely a tough ending to the weekend,” Warriors owner Sean Whalen said, “but taking all things into perspective I am pleased. This was our first year as a 7s team and a good majority of our team had never even played 7s before, so to be third in the nation is not half bad.”
The first-year club went 5-1 in the two-day tournament held on Treasure Island, just off the Bay Bridge.
“Everyone on the Warriors 7s team played fantastic, and some of them played the best rugby of their careers,” Whalen said. “Rugby is a constantly progressing game, strategies change, players and personalities change, but this group of guys did amazing this weekend.
“My hat is off to every single Warrior because every single one of them came home bruised and beat up, but with a positive attitude on the weekend.”
Belmont Shore (Long Beach, Calif.) beat Schyulkill River (Philadelphia) 37-14 in the final to win the national title.
Next year’s Rugby Super League is slated to begin next January.
“The boys are fired up and ready for that,” Wahlen said. “(Last season) was a great building year for the program. The team came together os quickly and we did very well considering the lack of time we had to train and some of the inconsistencies such a access to training facilities.
“All this will change for the 2012 season, and we are really looking forward to getting the best rugby players in the nation to represent and play with the Warriors for this 2012 season.”
Speaking of the best rugby players, John van der Giessen, who played for the Warriors last season has been playing for the U.S. National Team as it prepares for the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand. The Eagles lost to Canada on Saturday, but play a rematch this Saturday in Glendale, Colo., at 7 p.m.
The match will be shown live at UniversalSports.com.
“John is an amazing player and great representative for the sport of rugby,” Whalen said. “I and all the Warriors would be absolutely thrilled if John came back to the Utah Warriors in 2012.”