Week Eight sees Warriors head to Houston
HERRIMAN, Utah — Rugby is a tough and physical sport, and going throughout a season unscathed with injury issues isn’t a realistic prospect for anyone.
That said, injuries don’t often pile up the way they did last Friday during the Utah Warriors 26-24 win over the New England Free Jacks. The match saw several players leave the field with injury while several others gutted through their own ailments to help procure a big early win on the year.
As the Warriors turn around to face the Houston SaberCats this week, they’ll go in without the services of Joe Mano, Paul Lasike and Jamie Lane, all of whom have been starters and standouts for the team this year.
“It’s sad and disappointing those guys aren’t going to be with us, but it’s just the nature of the sport. Those things happen,” said Warriors team captain Bailey Wilson. “You have to move on, but on the positive side it’s an opportunity for others to prove what they got.”
Both Mano and Lane are expected to return after this week, although Lasike may be on the sidelines a while with his reported knee injury.
As Wilson mentioned, injuries create opportunity for others to step up, including some starters who have already provided a high level of play throughout the year.
“We have systems in place and we should be giving players an opportunity on the edge. That’s what we plan to do,” said Warriors coach Greg Cooper. “It’s disappointing, but it just gives someone else an opportunity. Guys like Mika Kruse and Caleb Makene are playing great rugby, so we’re confident.”
The good news is the Warriors will be returning the services of Tuvere Vugakoto, who had his red card suspension incurred in the Warriors 37-14 loss to the NOLA Gold reduced from three weeks to two.
As mentioned, the Warriors (4-2) will travel to take on a physical Houston Sabercat team (5-1) that should provide as big a challenge as Utah has faced so far this season.
“It’s a very good team ahead of us,” Cooper said. “We’ll go in there confident, but also knowing that we’ll have a fight. We’ve got to be good at what we do and with a belief that we can do it.”
Another positive factor working for the Warriors is their ability to rise in the face of adversity. Through six matches played, Utah has shown resilience in the face of injury and when issued yellow and red cards — often raising its level of play when handed a subpar hand.
“It says a lot about our leadership,” Cooper said. “We do a lot of preparation during the week, and our leadership group is very strong on this team, and I think we’re growing all the time, and Bailey leads that.”
“A lot of that goes back to the work we’ve put in week in and week out with our training,” Wilson added. “A lot of people just see the results, but a lot of that is the systems put in place and the training.”
UTAH WARRIORS VS. HOUSTON SABERCATS
DATE: SATURDAY, APRIL 8
TIME: 6:00 PM MT
WHERE: AVEVA STADIUM, HOUSTON
BROADCAST: KMYU, TRN, ESPN700, KSLSPORTS.COM
LANDMARK 3-YEAR PARTNERSHIP FOR OFFICIAL KIT PARTNER OF MAJOR LEAGUE RUGBY ANNOUNCED
HERRIMAN, Utah – The Utah Warriors have added Sebastian Pearson to their
The Rugby Alliance Officially Formed: Stade Toulousain and Utah Warriors Unite to Elevate Rugby to New Heights
SALT LAKE CITY (Sept. 21, 2023) – Stade Toulousain, led by President
Largest Scrum in History Bested Guinness World Record after USA Eagles Victory over Stade Toulousain
SALT LAKE CITY (Sept. 17, 2023) – A new Guinness World Record
SANDY, Utah (September 15, 2023) — Five Utah Warriors athletes will pull