Warriors add seven from Selects to MLR pre-season training roster
Herriman, Utah — The Utah Warriors announced today that they have added seven players from the Warriors Selects squad to the wider Warriors MLR training roster which is already underway with the team’s optional pre-season workouts this and next month at the Zions Bank Real Academy facilities.
Warriors Director of Rugby Brandon Sparks said the seven players, of whom six of the seven hold local Utah community or club rugby ties, showed well during the 5-game season for the Warriors Selects this Fall.
“The players we invited to the pre-season training camp impressed our pathway and MLR coaching staff with their on-field abilities as well as their off-field dispositions,” Sparks said, “The Selects program mirrors what we do at the MLR level and allowed us to assess the player’s professional readiness by seeing how they react to that environment. These guys did a great job and we are excited to welcome them into this MLR squad training group so we can see how they progress.”
The seven players include two former collegiate and NFL talents with Logan Tago and Aaron Wade being added to the preseason training roster.
Tago, a former Washington State Cougars All-Pac 12 defensive lineman, highlighted well in the backline with his size and speed while Wade, a former Utah State Aggies defensive back and crossover speedster featured in three games using his top-end speed and defensive abilities.
Four of these seven players featured for the local Rugby Utah Men’s Premier Division team the Salt Lake Gladiators, while one of these Gladiators also claims international rugby experience with Joe Mano having played for American Samoa in 7s Rugby.
The Selects also identified three tight five players that will be retained for the Warriors pre-season training group with David Perez, Kal Kistner, and James Mocke.
Perez, a local Utah Youth Rugby high school product with the Utah Cannibals, who at just 20, will look to gain experience from his MLR counterparts during the pre-season training opportunity as a loosehead prop.
Kistner, a former Colorado high school and Chapman University football standout who has been playing rugby and living in New Zealand, and Mocke, a former BYU All-American, both featured heavily in the Selects’ Fall season and will bring some experienced rugby acumen into the Warriors training squad at the lock position.
Rounding out the retained talent is young flyhalf Cumorah Saulala, who hails from Northern California, but has ties with the Gladiators locally, will also look to develop and gain experience during his time with the Warriors pre-season training squad.
“The Selects program offered me and the other players an opportunity to train and play at the next level,” Kal Kistner said of his experience with the Warriors’ designated developmental team, “The Selects season gave us a chance to learn from the MLR guys and build chemistry going into the pre-season. It was an awesome experience, especially during these trying times to be able to play rugby, with some exceptional and talented people.”
The Warriors coaching staff said other players were identified and invited to stay on with the Warriors’ preseason training group but were unavailable.
The Warriors will have the option of retaining these seven players beyond the preseason training period and sign them to a Trainee Contract, the MLR’s version of a practice squad contract, or an official MLR Contract.
Sparks was quick to point out that while these seven have an opportunity to climb the MLR ladder the Warriors will be supporting and keeping an eye on all of the other Selects players who haven’t been added to the Warriors preseason training squad to track their development.
“The Selects program is just one of our many efforts to ID and develop local talent,” Sparks said, “While we have kept seven players I believe there are more players in our program and emerging from the [Men’s Premier Division] and the collegiate ranks that will be putting their hand up for selection consideration over the next few years if not sooner during our 2021 Spring and Fall seasons.”
For more information about the Warriors Selects, please visit https://www.warriorsrugby.com/warriors-selects/.
The Utah Warriors and Major League Rugby on Monday announced the full 2021 MLR schedule. For more information on the Utah Warriors 2021 season ticket or single game plans, please visit www.WarriorsRugby.com.
Warriors Selects Retained for the Warriors Pre-Season Training Roster:
|NAME||HOMETOWN||HT||WT||POSITION||CLUB / REP|
|Aaron Wade||Lithia, FL||6’2”||200||Wing||Antelope|
|Cumorah Saulala||Morgan Hill, CA||6’3″||195||Flyhalf||SFGG, Gladiators|
|David Perez||Chihuahua, Mexico||6’4”||240||Prop||Utah Cannibals, Gladiators|
|Kaleo Kistner||Aspen, CO||6’5″||245||Lock||University of Otago RFC Premier, Gentlemen of Aspen RFC|
|James Mocke||Johannesburg, South Africa||6’5”||265||Lock||BYU, Golden Lions Academy|
|Joseph Mano||Pago Pago, American Samoa||5’11”||198||Wing||Gladiators, American Samoa|
|Logan Tago||Fagasa, American Samoa||6’4”||240||Center||Gladiators|
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