The best U.S. rugby team got a chance to sample the international flavor of the sport on Saturday, and it didn't taste so well.
Salt Lake's Highland High may be the best team in this country, but when it comes to international play it has some work to do. Kelston, out of New Zealand, didn't merely beat Highland, it stomped the Rams into shallow graves with a 59-3 demolition.Highland is in Harare, Zimbabwe, competing for the High School World Rugby Championship but can only salvage a third-place finish after losing in the semifinals to Kelston.
"Mental errors and missed assignments did us in," said Highland coach Larry Gelwix. "With 10 minutes to go it was 34-3, but it was downhill from there."
The Kelston players enjoyed a rather healthy size advantage over Highland, which, when combined with speed, made Highland's chances of stopping Kelston about the same as a picket fence halting a two-ton tank.
"The other team averaged about 20 pounds heavier per person, and they had some serious speed on the wings," said John Bennion, who made the trip with Highland as a spectator. "When the other team is bigger, faster, stronger and knows rugby techniques better, the consequences can be severe."