The University of Utah defeated Arizona State 60-37 Saturday in St. George to finish in second place in the Pacific Athletic Conference. The Utes were 4-1 in conference play, losing only to first-place California.
Saturday’s match was sloppily played by both sides, but some great individual efforts carried the Utes over until they began to function as a team. ASU led 8-5 early in the match when Nate Kingsford scored a try on a 25-meter run, and Danny Christensen converted to give Utah a lead it would not give up.
Taylor Thomas put Utah up 29-8 at the half when he broke two tackles and scored from 60 meters out. Chad Gough scored a try when he picked up a loose ball and raced 50 yards for the score in the second half.
Gabe Ruflin scored three tries for the Utes and the remaining tries were scored by Benj Mills (off a great pass from Kingsford) and Josh Cisar (fed by Tonata Lauti), Scott Strong, and Nyles Lapuaho (following a great run by Strong). Christensen converted on five of the tries.
Oklahoma banned from postseason
Oklahoma was to be Utah’s first-round opponent in the Varsity Cup Playoffs on April 4, but the Sooners have been banned from postseason competition for using ineligible players. At this time it is unknown if Utah will be given a bye or if another team will be named to replace Oklahoma.
U20 Eagles lose to Canada
The United States’ Junior All Americans (U20’s) played two matches in British Columbia this past week.
On Monday the Eagles lost a heartbreaker after leading 13-8 at the half, giving up a 12-point lead to fall 24-23 on a penalty goal with time expired. Ben Cima led the U.S. with 13 points on three penalty kicks and a pair of conversions, but he was subbed out of the match late in the contest. His replacement missed a late penalty kick that would have given the Eagles a five-point advantage.
On Friday the U.S. was soundly defeated by Canada 41-6. Canada only led 8-6 just before the half, but it scored a try in the final minute of play. The second half belonged to the Canadians who, with the victory, earn the right to travel to Portugal for the Junior World Rugby Tournament.
Hong Kong sevens
The United States opened the Hong Kong sevens pool play with a 22-14 victory over Kenya. The Eagles then smashed Wales 40-12 and tied England 21-21 to capture its pool by point differential and secure a historic spot in the U.S.’s fourth consecutive Cup Quarterfinals.
On Sunday the U.S. dropped a 26-15 decision to Samoa to be relegated to Plate play. The Eagles then rebounded to defeat Argentina 28-14 to advance to the Plate finals. A strong effort against Australia came up short, however, as the United States fell 21-17. Fiji won the Hong Kong sevens by beating New Zealand in the Cup finals 33-19.
South Africa now leads the overall point standings with 110, followed closely by Fiji with 108 and New Zealand with 107. Australia is fourth with 84 points while the United States, having one of its best years ever, is in seventh with 63, just one point behind Argentina.
Utah high schools
The Goff Rugby Report listed 10 high school rugby players across the nation who made an impact on the pitch two weekends ago. One of them was Herriman’s Kyler Burch who “scored a spectacular long-range try” but “got more notice for stopping and sticking a West Jordan forward who was about 100 pounds heavier than him.”
In matches this past week that were reported scores by Sunday evening — Snow Canyon beat Cedar 90-12, Herriman beat United 26-22, Olympus beat East 28-17 on Friday, Olympus beat Bear River 59-20 on Saturday, West Valley beat Kau Toa 54-5, Bountiful beat Cache Valley 73-12, Highland beat Box Elder 82-7. Snow Canyon is traveling to California this weekend to play the nationally ranked San Diego Mustangs.
The Goff Rugby Report released its college rankings on March 25. BYU remained at No. 1, but Life jumped Saint Mary’s for the second spot. California was fourth followed by Lindenwood and Davenport. Utah moved up from 13th to 10th. Rugby Today posted its rankings on March 26 and had BYU one, California two and Life three. Utah had slipped to eighth behind Saint Mary’s, Central Washington, Army and Lindenwood.
California rallied to down Saint Mary’s 27-20. BYU ran roughshod over Utah Valley University 109-0 on Wednesday and then crushed Utah State 100-0 on Saturday. Other scores: Life over Davenport 20-13, Army over Navy 41-24, Long Beach State over Southern California 50-5, Iona over UMass 28-24.
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