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Utah rugby update: Utes start practicing for sevens; team added to Varsity Cup

By Hugh Brown

For the Deseret News

Published: Thursday, Sept. 4 2014 11:26 a.m. MDT

The University of Utah opened practice for its fall sevens rugby Tuesday. The Utes will play in the Boise Sevens on Oct. 5, the Bay Area sevens on Oct. 25-26 and the PAC sevens in California on Nov. 7-8. The team is being coached by Mark Drown and Paul Benson and will model its attack after that used by the All Americans and Army in the recent Serevi International Invitational.

Youth Olympics Sevens

The United States sent a team to the Youth Olympics in Nanjing, China, at the end of August. The boys sevens side finished a disappointing 1-4 and fifth out of six countries. Also participating were Fiji, Kenya, Japan, France and Argentina. On the final day, the U.S. boys lost to Argentina 33-10 and then defeated Japan 29-12. There were no Utah representatives on the boys side. France beat Argentina 45-22 for the championship.

Appau Mailau of Salt Lake City played for the girls U.S. side and started most of the matches. The girls fared slightly better, finishing fourth out of the six nations. Australia downed Canada 28-10 for the gold medal.

National Club Sevens Championship

The men’s USA Club Rugby Sevens National Championship was held in Seattle Aug. 8-10. Seattle’s Old Puget Sound Beach won the title, beating the New York Athletic Club 17-7 in the quarterfinals, Belmont Shore 26-5 in the semifinals, and Old Blue of New York 31-26 in the championship match (scoring the winning try in the closing seconds). Former Utah Warrior and Haggis star Mike Palefau led Seattle and former Ute John Cullen also played for the victors. The San Diego Surfers won the women’s Cup over Old Blue of New York 45-0.

Serevi Sevens Championship

The annual Serevi Rugbytown Sevens was played Aug. 15-17 in Glendale, Colorado. Seventeen teams competed, including three national teams (Mexico, Bermuda, Bahamas), three U.S. All Star teams (All Americans, Falcons, Hawks), six service teams (Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard, Royal Air Force), as well as the Denver Elite; Glendale, Texas; Negro y Azul (from Texas); and Northeast.

In pool play, the All Americans beat the Royal Air Force 38-0, lost to the Northeast 22-15 and lost to Denver 24-14. In bowl play, the All Americans defeated Navy 36-7 in the quarterfinals, Texas 24-7 in the semis and the Royal Air Force 19-12 in the finals. The championship cup was won by the USA Falcons (who finished 6-0) over Denver 36-19.

World Club Sevens Championship

The London leg of the World Rugby Club Sevens took place on Aug 16-17 with two U.S. teams (New York and the Seattle Saracens) involved. Former Ute John Cullen and former Utah Warrior Mike Palefau played for Seattle in London as the Saracens finished ninth and won the Shield, defeating Gloucester 22-12 and the Harlequins 28-14.

In prior matches, Seattle lost to Kuban Kraanodar 17-5 and Auckland 19-12 before beating Waratahs 33-14. New York took seventh with a 34-7 win over RC Enisei. Buenos Aires won the London World Sevens, defeating Auckland 26-22 in the championship match.

Varsity Cup expands

The Varsity Cup Championship added Arizona State to its fold in August. Arkansas State joined in July. There are now 14 teams, including the University of Utah, involved in this prestigious postseason single elimination tournament.

Eagles to play in ARC

The United States’ fifteens will play in the America’s Rugby Championship in Canada in October. The Eagles will take on Argentina on Oct. 11, Canada on Oct. 15 and Uruguay on Oct. 19. All the matches will be held in Langford, British Columbia.

College rugby scores

Aug 28-30: Davenport over McMaster 31-19; Navy over Ohio State 48-10; Clemson over Georgia 66-3; Wheeling Jesuit over Michigan 24-15; Virginia Tech over Radford 36-26; Lindenwood over Indiana 56-27.

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