Mega college/high school rugby update: Utes run by ASU, to face BYU on Saturday

Utah rugby player Les Soloai runs by Arizona State defenders on Saturday at McCarthy Field. (Photo by Shannon Condie and Jef Pierson)

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utes were on full afterburners.

The No. 5-ranked Utah rugby club smashed Arizona State 81-27 at a very windy McCarthy Field on Saturday.

Trevor Trowbridge opened the scoring for the Utes by poaching a Sun Devil ball from a ruck and racing untouched for the try. Tonata Lauti made the conversion for an early 7-0 lead. Utah then stole the ball out of an ASU scrum and Les Soloai picked it up, broke weak side, and passed to Don Pati who got the try for a 14-0 lead.

The Sun Devils connected on a penalty kick, but Utah got another try after the forwards rucked the ball near the Arizona State goal line and Mike Juszczak went in for the score.

That lead was upped to 24-3 when the Ute defense spoiled an ASU attack and Juszczak gathered in the ball and broke 20 meters for a try. The aggressive Utah pack next took another Sun Devil scrum and Pati went off the edge, broke the ASU line, scored a try and then converted it for a 31-3 lead.

Arizona State still had some fight as they mounted their own offense, behind the shifty running of a number of speedy backs, and put in two tries.  However they had a knock-on following the ensuing kickoff and Pati did one of his infamous quick taps and then broke a number of tackles to earn his third try and, with the conversion, give Utah a halftime lead of 38-15.

The second half was more of the same as Trowbridge picked off the bobbled ball and went in for a quick try. The Utes next had a 5-meter scrum near the Sun Devil end zone and the forwards drove it over where Soloai got the try.

ASU drove into Utah territory, but the Utes stole another ball at their own 15-meter line and took it 85 meters with Pati earning his fourth try for a 53-15 lead. Mote Houma then did a quick tap off a penalty and broke the Sun Devil backs for another try.

The score rose to 67-15 when the Ute backs free-lanced ending with Tonata Lauti passing to his brother Lopeti Lauti for the try.  Arizona State put in a try of their own, but Utah countered as Kaleb Hogan scored off the back of a ruck and the conversion made it 74-22.

Alex Muehle then smashed through the ASU defense to score on a 60 meter run, before the Sun Devils got a try to make the final score 81-27 Utah.  Danny Christensen had a strong game at standoff, while Nick Mostyn contributed some punishing runs and hooker Mike Shepherd controlling the ball in the scrums and breakdowns. Tonata Lauti had seven extra points kicks, many made on drop-kicks because of the wind.

Wasatch Cup on Saturday

In a match for the DI-A Western Conference championship, the Utes and Cougars will face each other at 1 p.m. at South Field.

Other college scores                          

D-1A – BYU swamped Arizona 80-8 in a Friday match.  In Saturday’s games in the East, Army dumped Ohio State 53-7 and Kutztown upended Navy 30-21. No score has been reported for the Penn State-Rutgers match. In the Southwest, Arkansas State blanked Notre Dame 41-0 and Texas A&M defeated Oklahoma 48-26.  Wyoming got its first win over Colorado State 49-26.

Other – California made it a sweep by downing British Columbia 46-20.  Texas beat Rice 36-26 to win the Southwest Conference.  Dartmouth beat the Cayman Islands Select Side 28-18.  Florida State beat South Florida 20-10, and Tennessee downed Georgia 53-9. 

Utah football’s Palamo changes positions

Thretton Palamo, Utah’s All American rugby star two seasons ago, is participating in the Ute football spring camps at a new position. Used on special teams last season (he was listed as a running back), Palamo is working out at defensive end this spring after beefing up to 250 pounds.

U.S. does well in Tokyo Sevens

The United States opened the Tokyo Sevens the same way they started the Hong Kong Sevens, losing to New Zealand (this time 26-5).

Mike Palefau, formerly of the Utah Warriors, started for the Eagles and scored their lone try.

In their second match the U.S. fell to Australia 15-0 before righting themselves (somewhat) by edging Hong Kong 21-19 after trailing 12-0 at the half.  The next day the U.S. took on Kenya in the Bowl quarterfinals and came away with a 12-7 victory.

In the semifinals the Eagles continued their run of good play as they downed Portugal 20-10.

However, that run ended in the Bowl championship match against France, falling 17-12.  Australia won the Tokyo Sevens by beating Samoa 28-26 in the championship.  The next leg of the IRB Sevens is in Scotland on May 5-6.

High school: United, Herriman and Snow Canyon pick up wins

In Division I play this past weekend United edged Davis County 36-34; Herriman looked very strong in downing Trybe 33-25; and Snow Canyon remained undefeated with a 21-15 win over Lowland.

In Division II, the Cougars beat Davis High School 12-10, Cache Valley and TC Fusion battled to a 22-22 draw, and the Las Vegas Rugby Academy blistered the Dixie Flyers 58-15.

Summer youth program registration

The Utah Youth Rugby has opened up registration for its summer youth program.

The northern program will from June 2 through the end of July, an eight week season. In the south there will be a fall youth league. That registration will occur later.

The northern summer program will cost $90 per player and each player will get an authentic Gilbert Rugby kit customized for their size plus a ball, not to mention eight weeks of rugby with a total of 16 games.  There will also be parent/coach clinics as we get closer to the season start.

Since the teams are built geographically, get your friends to play and youth rugby will attempt to build a team in your neighborhood. There will be over 500 players at these levels this year and the teams will get to play with and meet international players during the Junior World Rugby Trophy in June.

For more information, contact Michael Cressler at

Age groups work as following:
U6 (5-6 yr olds) play Flag Rugby COED

U8(7-8 yr olds) play Flag Rugby COED

U10 move into full contact 7s with modified rules. COED

U12 play full contact 7s with modified rules. GENDER SPECIFIC

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