Warriors Selects secure victory against Northeast Rugby Academy
Herriman, Utah — Rain, wind and a felled goal post didn’t stop the Selects from securing an exciting victory at home over the visiting Northeast Rugby Academy (NRA), 28-27.
Although NRA executed their plays with precision, the Selects were able to capitalize on penalties and show their dominance in the scrum and come away with the win.
“It was great that Northeast made the trip; they were a worthy adversary and played awesome. They had really highlight-level players on that team,” said Brandon Sparks, Utah Warriors Director of Rugby. “We told [the Selects] that this was going to be a hard game, and it proved to be true. But, we still walked away with a win. It’s good to get the first one, and we’re looking forward to the last two that we have coming up.”
NRA was first to put points on the board with a penalty try at the 6 minute mark. However, it didn’t take long for the Selects to answer back. A well-timed offload from Aelias McHam set up a breakaway run by Aaron Wade on the wing, and a successful conversion put the Warriors in the lead, 7-5.
Although NRA answered back with two tries on their outside, it wasn’t long before McHam got his own chance to score, assisted by a breakaway run from James Vaifale to start a series that led to McHam’s push into the tryzone. After the successful conversion, the teams went into halftime 14-17.
The Selects reentered the match after halftime with fresh legs, opening the half with a try from Mike Payne. A dominating scrum gave Payne a lane to punch it in for 5 and take back their lead 21-17.
A try followed by a penalty kick for 3 pushed NRA into the lead, but morale amongst the Selects never wavered. With just 4 minutes left on the clock, an assist from Joseph Mano set up Wade for the score, and a successful conversion by Danny Christensen ended the game at 28-27. Christensen went 4/4 for conversions in the match.
The Warriors Selects will rematch the MPD All-Stars at Zions Bank Stadium next weekend, Nov. 14, at 1:00 P.M.
SCORING SUMMARY: Selects vs. Northeastern Rugby Academy (Nov. 7, 2020)
6’ NRA 5
20’ Aaron Wade 5, 2 (Selects)
25’ NRA 5, 2
30’ NRA 5
34’ Aelias McHam, 5, 2 (Selects)
Halftime Score: Selects — 14 NRA — 17
46’ Mike Payne 5, 2 (Selects)
56’ NRA 5, 2
72’ NRA 3
76’ Aaron Wade 5, 2 (Selects)
Final Score: Selects — 28 NRA — 27
Utah Warriors Selects Roster
1 Sam Ciancutti
2 Mike Payne
3 Elijah Hayes
4 Kal Kistner
5 Aelias McHam
6 Thomas Tu’avao
7 Mike Gieselman
8 Charlie Hola
9 Danny Christensen
10 Tosh Wilcox
11 Aaron Wade
12 Tomasi Tonga
13 O’Shea Settle
14 Logan Tago
15 James Vaifale
16 Sesili Taukiuvea
17 Alex Tucci
18 David Perez
19 Lance Williams
20 Nick Andiarena
21 Jacob Klingelsmith
22 Joe Mano
23 Bobby Tu’avao
Coaches: Brandon Sparks (Dir. of Rugby), Vaha Esikia (Backs/Attack), Derek Smith (Forwards/Defense)
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