Mega rugby update: Las Vegas to be the center of the rugby universe

New Zealand's players perform "haka" after winning the final match against Fiji in the International Rugby Sevens tournament at Westpac Stadium in Wellington, New Zealand, Saturday, Feb. 4, 2012. (AP Photo/SNPA, Dianne Manson)

By Hugh Brown


The Las Vegas Invitational Tournament announced its schedule for this coming week.

The main attraction will be the IRB International Sevens Tournament featuring the United States Eagles and strong teams from New Zealand, Australia, Tonga, Fiji, Samoa, England and France, among others.

However there will also be a series of both 15s and 7s matches being played all week as 203 clubs have entered 230 teams into the event.  Local sides playing on Thursday include: University of Utah 7s versus Southern Illinois University at 8 a.m. and Regis University at 10:40 a.m. on pitch 2; BYU 15s versus Penn State at 2 p.m. on pitch 4; Utah Valley University 15s versus Pacifica College at 2 p.m. on pitch 1; Weber State 7s versus Yale at 9:40 p.m. and Central Washington at noon on pitch 2;  Lowland 7s versus Raptor Rugby Academy at 10:20 a.m. and FCDC at 1:00 on pitch 20.

On Friday matches include: University of Utah 7s versus Davenport at 8:00 on pitch 2; Weber State 7s versus Indiana at 9:40 a.m. on pitch 2; Utah and Weber State will then advance into the 7s playoffs between 11:20 a.m. and 3:40 p.m. on pitch 2; Park City Haggis 15s versus All Murrays at 8 a.m. on pitch 15 and the Misfits at 2:40 p.m. on pitch 7; Utah Valley 15s versus Southern Utah at 10 a.m. on pitch 3; BYU 15s versus Missouri at 10:00 on pitch 4.

On Saturday matches include: The men’s 7s semifinals at 9:40 a.m. and 10 a.m. and the finals at noon on pitch 1 and 2; Utah Valley versus Missouri at 8 a.m. on pitch 1; Utah State versus UC Irvine at 8:40 a.m. on pitch 5.  All matches are played on fields surrounding Boyd Stadium at the University of Las Vegas.


The United States’ 7s side played in Wellington, New Zealand, this past weekend. On Friday they went 0-3, dropping a 21-0 decision to South Africa (a side they have never beaten), were blanked again by England 29-0, and then saw the Cook Islands rally to win 26-22.

Maka Unufe and Mike Palefau of the Utah Warriors started for the Eagles and Unufe scored a try. That pitted the U.S. against Wales on Saturday where the Eagles again failed to score in losing 10-0.  Relegated to Shield play, the United States was then edged by Scotland 14-12 after trailing 14-0 at the half.

New Zealand won the tournament, beating Fiji 24-7 in the final. This weekend the IRB 7’s moves to Las Vegas, Nevada where the Eagles hope to play better in front of their own fans. The U.S. finds itself in a pool with Fiji, Canada, and Argentina.


Utah was to play its first home match on last Saturday, meeting the Super League Utah Warriors in friendly on the U.’s McCarthy Field. Matches against men’s club side teams like San Francisco Golden Gate and the Warriors, as well as games against Canadian university sides (that do count in the team’s record) are intended to strengthen the Utes for their tough DI-A schedule. Unfortunately this past weekend’s match was cancelled because of the weather. The Utes will now take a sevens team to Las Vegas this weekend before resuming its fifteens schedule, weather permitted, at home against Utah State in February 18.


Two Utah boys have been named to the High School All American team that will play in Las Vegas this next week. Stratton Brown and Tupou Aagard, both from the Lowland Rugby Club, will play in the elite division of the Las Vegas rugby tournament.


USA Rugby will host the IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy 2012 from June 18-30 in Salt Lake City.  The announcement was made at the 2012 USA Rugby Youth Development Conference in Atlanta two weeks ago. The host U.S. Junior Eagles will be joined by teams from Canada, Chile, Georgia, Japan, Russia, Tonga, and Zimbabwe.

The teams will start play in two, four club, pools.  Last year Utah’s Mike Juszczak played for the United States in Tibilisi, Georgia.  The 2012 Junior World Championship will be held in France.


The Utah Warriors have announced their schedule for the 2012 Super League season. The campaign kicks off on March 10 when the team hosts the Denver Barbarians. On March 17 the Warriors travel to play San Francisco Golden Gate followed by matches with Old Puget Sound Beach (Home March 24), Chicago Griffins (Away April 14), San Francisco Golden Gate (Home April 21), Old Puget Sound Beach (Away April 28), Chicago Griffins (Home May 12), and Denver Barbarians (Away May 19).

For more information go to their website.


The Utah Valley University Wolverines are currently ranked fifth in Division II rugby. UVU beat the Dixie men’s club last weekend 50-5 to improve their record to 8-0. University of Wisconsin-Whitewater (10-0) is ranked first in the second division, followed by Lindenwood (8-0), Salisbury (8-0), and Northern Colorado (6-0-1). 


DI-A teams: On Thursday Arizona downed San Diego State 26-21; On Friday California visited Arizona and came away with an 82-0 victory.  Sunday California met Arizona State and won again 59-7.

D1-AA: On Saturday UC Santa Barbara downed San Diego State 21-14; Oregon State remained undefeated by handing the University of British Columbia its first loss 17-15; UCLA crushed UC Irvine 74-10; Washington beat Oregon 27-10; Tennessee whomped Vanderbilt 61-3; Florida beat Georgia 29-5.

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