Mustang Rugby Captures Las Vegas 7s Title
May 05, 2016 03:55PM
● By Greg James
By Greg James | [email protected]
South Valley - The Utah rugby scene has once again shown why some of the sports best talent comes from the state. Herriman’s boys 7s team flexed its muscle in the International Las Vegas 7s tournament March 3-5.
The Herriman Gold boys varsity team traveled to Las Vegas to compete in the international 7s tournament. The tournament featured regional all-star teams from all over the world. The Mustangs finished the tournament 6-0 and won the championship game 22-19 over BCEY (British Columbia). The tournament championship became more remarkable considering Herrimans team is comprised of players from a single school.
“I cannot overstate enough what it is like for a single school team from a small Utah community to not only compete against, but beat all of these select all-star teams from all over the country. They were also missing four of their best players,” Herriman girls rugby coach Joe Hoff said.
The Herriman Gold team started the tournament with a 19-5 victory over the Las Vegas Blackhawks. The Blackhawks are the defending Nevada state champions. They also beat the Mavericks from Texas 24-12. Their third pool victory came over The Tennessee Tri-Star 31-10.
The Mustangs faced EORU (Ontario, Canada) and defeated them 33-14 in the quarterfinals. They were pitted against The Rigby Royals from Idaho and defeated them 31-17 in the semi-finals.
“This was so awesome,” boys coach Jeff Wilson said. Wilson knew the tournament would tax his team, but would give them the experience they need to springboard the team into its 15s season (7s and 15s are played with different numbers of players on the field).
Herriman’s Red team finished the tournament 3-2 tied for fifth place with The Arizona Bobcats.
The boys rugby program is not the only team to have success this season. The Mustangs girls faced the number one ranked team in the country, Danville Lady Oaks (from San Francisco area), in Herriman April 2.
The game started out pretty evenly, but Danville scored first and eventually won 33-5. Herriman’s Bergen Christiansen was able to secure a throw-in in the final minutes and a mass of Herriman players grabbed onto each other to drive the ball over the Danville line to avoid the shutout.
“It sounds like a decisive defeat, but we were encouraged to hold a top national team to only 33 points. It was a joy to compete at such a high level against a quality team,” Hoff said.
The Mustangs boys and girls varsity teams have started their season undefeated. Both teams are 3-0 headed into weekend play April 16 (press deadline). The boys team has outscored its Utah opponents 181-41, the girls 148-5.
High school rugby continues to grow in popularity. The boys team competes this spring in the single school central conference against Olympus, Alta, Jordan and Copper Hills. Copper Hills is in its first year of hosting a team. The girls play in the only state girls division and it has grown to eight teams.