Warriors look to add another win to 6-2 record this weekend
HERRIMAN — What a difference a year can make.
The Utah Warriors have reached the midway point of the Major League Rugby season and are right there near the top of a very competitive Western Conference standings as they prepare to take on Old Glory DC this Saturday.
The Warriors’ 6-2 record has them tied with both the Seattle Seawolves and Houston Sabercats with regards to win totals, and just one win behind the San Diego Legion as the season turns toward the home stretch.
Indeed a lot of positives have come about over the first eight matches, far out-weighing whatever negatives have transpired.
“The important thing has been the steady growth,” said Warriors head coach Greg Cooper. “In terms of actual performance — that’s what has impressed me the most. The performances have gotten better and then the results have gotten better.”
Those results have included four straight wins, including big wins over both the Sabercats and the Seawolves — two teams the Warriors are neck-and-neck with in the current standings.
“There’s no challenge that we’re looking at where we’re not looking to hit it in the teeth,” said Warriors center Tyler Fisher. “It’s exciting and the overall level of rugby within the competition has increased, which is obviously great for the whole league. So it’s great to be a part of.”
It’s quite the difference from this time a year ago when coaching changes and frustrating losses conspired to put Utah at the bottom of a long hill to climb. But having already surpassed the entire win total for the entire 2022 season, Fisher and his teammates are experiencing some new enthusiasm this time around.
“There’s a great vibe amongst the boys,” Fisher said. “A winning streak is obviously going to put smiles on everyone’s faces, but the whole brotherhood on the team is making a great environment to be a part of and we know we’re headed in the right direction.”
If there’s anything to nitpick about the Warriors’ first half of the season it’s perhaps not being able to accrue vital bonus points during certain matches. Sure, Utah is tied with both Seattle and Houston in the win column, it’s still two and four points behind both teams, respectively, with regards to total points.
“Yes, we’ve missed the odd bonus point, but there’s also been disruptions with injuries and we’ve lost a bit of momentum during games,” Cooper said. “But the end result is that we’re sitting one win away from potentially being in the top two. So there’s not a lot of negatives at the moment.”
Cooper has been around the game of rugby for a long time and knows as well as anyone of where a team’s focus needs to be.
“We have to focus on the process and the rest will take care of itself,” Cooper said. “If we do all of that then the bonus points will come and the wins will come. There’s probably a few bonus points that we’ve left out there, but that’s the nature of rugby. But if we deviate away from the process, then we won’t get the result or the bonus points.”
The focus currently is entirely on achieving another positive result this Saturday against Old Glory DC (3-5), a team Utah isn’t overlooking given the aforementioned process coupled with Old Glory’s recent play.
It’s all working toward the ultimate goal of making the playoffs and then perhaps even winning the MLR championship.
“We’re all on the same page and we all have the same vision,” Fisher said. “We take it one week at a time and slowly work toward the big objective at the end.”
UTAH WARRIORS VS. OLD GLORY DC
DATE: SATURDAY, APRIL 12
TIME: 1:00 PM MT
WHERE: SEGRA FIELD, LEESBURG, MD.
BROADCAST: KMYU, TRN, ESPN700, KSLSPORTS.COM
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