Rugby update: Utes ranked second, BYU ranked ninth

University of Utah rugby player Danny James looks to pass during play in 2011.

BY HUGH BROWN

Rugby Mag ranked the top 30 college 7’s teams as of mid-February.  Life University, by virtue of their having won the Las Vegas 7’s Tournament, was given the top spot with the team Life beat in the title game, the Utes, second. The publications aid the Utes “looked superb in Vegas” and pointed out that they won the national collegiate championship in 2010 and were third in 2011, losing to national champion Dartmouth in a tight match.

Arkansas State was ranked third, followed by Davenport, Dartmouth, Army, Central Washington, St. Mary’s, BYU, and San Diego State. Defending 15s champ California was ranked 13th.

Utes blast Aggies at home

Utah took advantage of mild weather blast Utah State 65-15 in the Utes’ first home match of the season at McCarthy Field on Saturday in Salt Lake City.

The Aggies scored first, converting a penalty kick for a 3-0 lead.  Utah roared right back, stealing the ball off the kickoff and, after a number of phases, Spencer Vickery took the ball into the end zone for a try.

A missed conversion made it 5-3 Utes. Utah then stole a USU lineout ending with Danny Christensen passing to Winston Harris who unloaded to Timote Houma for the try. The kick was good and it was 12-3.

From this point on there was no stopping the Utes as they stole a ball from an Aggie scrum and Ryan Snyder passed wide to Tonata Lauti for a 40-meter run and score, then Utah put across four more tries to give them a 31-3 lead at the half.

The Utes continued to look good as the second half began, working the phases and making some outstanding open field runs, ending with Harris scoring a try.

Utah State continued to play hard, and the Aggies scored a try and conversion to make it 41-12 before Lopeti Lauti and Nick Mostyn scored tries for Utah to push the lead to 65-12.

The Utes are home again this weekend when they host Utah Valley at noon match.  The 8-1 Wolverines are 8-1 are ranked fifth in D-II. 

DI-A PACIFIC PREVIEW

With California-Berkeley having dropped to DI-AA, Rugby Mag predicts that St. Mary’s will win the tough D1-A Pacific Division. The Gaels (4-0) have looked impressive during the preseason. Central Washington is predicted to finish second, followed by Cal Poly and UCLA tied for third, and UC Irvine fifth. The Utes play national powerhouse California in Rio Tinto Stadium in Salt Lake City on March 3.

HONG KONG SEVENS

The pools for the IRB Hong Kong sevens tournament have been released. Things do not get any easier for the United States Eagles who find themselves in Pool B with New Zealand, South Africa, and Wales. New Zealand is leading the IRB 7’s competition with 92 points, followed by Fiji with 87. South Africa is third with 76, England fourth with 74, and Samoa fifth with 69.

OTHER SCORES

Opening DI-A play on Saturday, Life crushed Oklahoma 77-5 and Arkansas State hammered Texas A&M 71-20.

Last week Penn State beat Arizona State 35-16, Arizona beat Penn State 60-12 and Cal Poly 22-15, Air Force beat Chico State 60-14 and Cal Poly 59-0, Tennessee downed previously undefeated Florida 20-12, Texas A&M crushed Sam Houston 104-5, U of British Columbia swamped Washington 56-0, and Oregon downed Simon Fraser 27-8

This past weekend California edged the University of British Columbia 13-12 and then British Columbia jumped Washington State 52-7, Army dumped Arizona 54-17 and then edged Arizona State 16-9, Santa Clara downed Stanford 38-12, Tennessee thumped South Carolina 71-7, Florida beat Vanderbilt 60-7,  Florida State got by South Florida 26-24, Delaware squeaked by Maryland 22-19, UC Irvine defeated Claremont 23-17, San Diego State beat U San Diego 55-17, and St. Mary’s looked impressive with an easy 53-10 win over the Olympic men’s DI club.

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