Utah Warriors host Community Combine ahead of Warriors Selects Fall Series
Herriman, Utah — With rugby’s popularity growing rapidly in Utah and across the United States, the Utah Warriors began their search for the next generation of players at their annual player development combine Thursday.
The sold-out event of 50 players was designed to focus on finding local and domestic talent that will be able to enter the Warriors’ player development pathway. This was the Warriors’ fourth Community Combine since 2017 and was held at Zions Bank Real Academy Training Fields.
With the Warriors MLR roster now going into its fourth season, this combine focused on adding players to a true development team, the Warriors Selects program that starts this fall. The new development team serves as a proving ground for players before they are introduced into the fast-growing Major League Rugby (MLR) competition.
“The desire within the United States rugby community for opportunities like this was on display with players traveling from all over, from San Diego to as far away as Hawaii,” said Brandon Sparks, Director of Rugby for the Utah Warriors. “We also have an embarrassment of riches out here in the state of Utah when it comes to rugby talent, and we as the Warriors are committed to building this pathway to support players, coaches and referees.”
Past combines have produced players like Dominik Toluono of Taylorsville, Utah and Sione Tau’ataina of West Valley City, Utah. Both are local players with prolific rugby careers at the high school and club levels, and both proved their worth to the Warriors during the short 2020 season. Utah native Nata Lauti was also a late addition from the original 2017 combine and went on to lead the MLR in tries during his 2018 season.
“We accomplished our goal of IDing eight to ten players in this event that we think can contribute to the Selects this fall and possibly the MLR side in a few years,” said Sparks.
The final Warriors Selects roster will be released this weekend ahead of the Warriors Selects opening match Oct. 23. The Selects host four home games this fall, while also traveling to Atlanta on Halloween to play MLR partner Rugby Atlanta’s development team called “The 404,” named in connection to the Atlanta area code.
For Utah Warriors Selects ticket and schedule details, please visit https://www.warriorsrugby.com/warriors-selects-matches/.
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