Mega Utah rugby update: Utes, Brothers and UVU all clinch playoff berths

Photo by Joan Shepherd

BY HUGH BROWN

LET’S TAKE TWO … IN COLORADO

The Utes beat two teams with winning records in under 24 hours on the road last weekend to clinch second place in the Division I-A West Confernece and the playoff spot that goes with it.

Utah 49, Colorado 30

In the first match against 3-2 Colorado in Boulder, Utah coach Blake Burdette went with his first liners, even with the Air Force match looming just seventeen hours away.

Danny Christensen’s penalty kick from 15 meters out opened the scoring and the Utes made it 10-0 when Nick Mostyn scored a try and Christensen converted. Colorado responded by scoring two tries of their own, but missed both conversions, to knot the score at 10-10. Spencer Vickery bulled his way into the end zone to regain Utah’s lead and the conversion made it 17-10. The Buffaloes and Utes then traded penalty kicks to end the half with Utah holding a tight 20-13 lead.

Utah’s Mote Houme opened the second half with a try off a nice run from his center position and Christensen’s kick was again good. With 26 minutes to go Winston Harris stole the ball and passed to Tonata Lauti for the try and the Utes led 32-13.  Colorado charged right back with a try of their own to cut the lead to 32-20, but Houme scored his second try to make it 37-20 with 18 minutes to play.

The Buffaloes scored again, only to have Mostyn counter with his second try as Utah led 42-25. Vickery then also scored his second try, and Christensen converted, to put the match away before Colorado’s final try.

Utah 41, Air Force 30

At Colorado Springs, the 5-1 Zoomies only loss was to BYU and they had handed Penn State its only defeat of the year, so they were not to be taken lightly.

The Utes kicked off and jumped to an early 3-0 lead on Danny Christensen’s penalty kick. Air Force tied it on a penalty goal of their own, but Winston Harris put across Utah’s first try on a fine 35-meter run to retake the lead, 8-3.

Tonata and Kave Lauti teamed up on a counterattack with Tonata scoring the try and Christensen’s conversion upped the lead to 15-3 before the Zoomies pushed in a try to cut it to 15-10. Don Pati scored a try off one of his now famous quick taps and the conversion made it 22-10 Utah, but Air Force remained in the match with a try at the close of the half to trail by just seven points, 22-15, at the intermission.

The Zoomies came out strong to start the second half.  After kicking a penalty goal to narrow the margin to 22-18, Air Force stormed ahead 30-22 with a two tries and conversion.

With 15 minutes to play, it was now Utah’s turn to go on the offensive. Pati scored his second try to cut the lead to 30-27 and then the forward pack asserted itself.

Following a massive push the pack scored a try, and Christensen converted, as the Utes regained the lead 34-30.

The forwards did it again to close the match and the conversion gave Utah what amounted to the final score.

“Air Force is a very good team and we were a little undisciplined,” Coach Blake Burdette said. “But late in the game we just decided that if we were going to be the better team, we had to play like it.”

Utah now concludes its regular season at home against Wyoming (upset winners over Arizona this past weekend) this Saturday at noon on McCarthy Field.

The DI-A playoffs start on May 5.

PROVO WINS IN CALIFORNIA

Provo Steelers 28, East Palo Alto RFC 21: Provo only had three substitutes for the match, but they came out hard in a very hard-hitting contest.

Maka Havea made a jarring tackle on the fullback to open the game and picked up the ball to score the first try, but the half ended knotted at 14-14. The Steelers forwards pushed in a try in the second half and then Tongia Vaitaki scored the game winner at the 77-minute mark before the Razorbacks scored the final try of the match.

UTAH BROTHERS IN PLAYOFFS           

According to RugbyMag the Utah Brothers RFC has been given approval to play in the men’s DI club playoffs.

The Brothers were formed in March when the Utah Warriors were disqualified from the Super League.

Coach Tim Lewis has been appealing his club’s exclusion from the playoffs with the Pacific Coast RFU based on the fact that they were not provided proper guidelines to follow in order to qualify. Utah Brothers is scheduled to play the third seed from Southern California on April 28 for a spot in the USAR round of 16.

PARK CITY HAGGIS LOSES TO ORSU

Park City Haggis played a challenge match against the Pacific Coast RFU’s second seed, the Oregon Sports Union Rugby Club, this past Saturday in Portland, Ore.

ORSU won the match by a 43-10 margin, eliminating Haggis from the PCRFU playoffs.

HIGH SCHOOL ALL-AMERICANS

The United States High School All American fifteens, which includes Lowland RFC’s Stratton Brown, continued play in the Wellington College Tournament in the United Kingdom.

The All-Americans had an outstanding second half against the England North U-16 side on April 10, but fell by a 12-6 score. On April 13 the U.S. were to close out the tournament with a match against the Belgium U-17 side, but the game was cancelled due to illness on the U.S. team.

UTAH VALLEY QUALIFIES FOR NATIONALS

Utah Valley University traveled to California two weekends ago to play in the Division II Pacific Coast playoffs.  The Wolverines lost their opener to Santa Rosa JC 22-17 on April 7, but rebounded to defeat Idaho State 57-18 on April 8 to finish third.  Sierra College beat Santa Rosa 29-7 to take first place.

By taking third place in the Pacific Coast, Utah Valley qualifies to play in the 16-team Division II College National Championships, which concludes at Rio Tinto Stadium, in Sandy, on May 18-19.

The Wolverines have a rematch with Santa Rosa in the first round, which will be played at Stanford University on April 28 with the winner advancing to the elite eight on April 29 against either Sierra or Long Beach.

UTAH HIGH SCHOOL RUGBY

It was incorrectly reported that Herriman defeated Skyline 40-0 in last week’s newsletter. The two sides will today at 5 p.m. in Herriman.

Last week results:

Division I – The feature match saw Trybe hand Snow Canyon its first loss 33-15. Former Ute rugger Haloti Moala is one of Trybe’s coaches. Lowland defeated Davis County 38-10.

Division II – Orem beat Bountiful 47-7, Cougars beat Cache Valley 42-14, and Pine View crushed Dessert Hills 54-0.

OTHER COLLEGE SCORES                                    

Division I-A

West: Wyoming edged Arizona 27-24 and Arizona State and Colorado State played last night. Pacific: UCLA beat Cal Poly 39-13 to take second place.  East: Penn State beat Kutztown 44-37 to clinch a playoff berth; Navy downed Ohio State 23-18; and Delaware defeated Rutgers 64-12.  Mid-South: Life clobbered Notre Dame 98-13 and Arkansas State blistered Oklahoma 84-0.

Other – Texas A&M beat Wisconsin 37-3, undefeated Oregon State downed Washington State 43-12, Florida defeated Kennesaw State 46-17, Florida beat LSU 35-17, and Tennessee downed Alabama 32-21. In the Ivy League playoffs Dartmouth trounced Harvard 51-7 and Princeton squeaked by Brown 22-20.

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