UTAH WARRIORS

Utah Warriors Return To The Pitch At Home On Saturday

Mar 5, 2021, 7:46 PM | Updated: 7:47 pm
Utah Warriors Rugby...
(Courtesy of Utah Warriors Rugby)
(Courtesy of Utah Warriors Rugby)

HERRIMAN, Utah — After nearly a year without Major League Rugby (MLR) play and two years since their last home game, the Utah Warriors will face off against Rugby ATL in a preseason match tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. MDT in Zions Bank Stadium. Rugby ATL is one of the top Eastern Conference teams, making this game an early-season chance for players to see what lies ahead for the 2021 season.

“Rugby ATL is probably one of the most prepared teams currently, which means this is going to be a massive test for us to see where we sit,” said Shaun Davies, Utah Warriors assistant coach.

The Warriors have had several new signings, including Joe Mano, Logan Tago, and James Mocke. All three are recent call-ups from the Warriors Selects developmental team. They will be suiting up on Saturday and will have a chance to be measured against a strong ATL club in this match.

Davies particularly expressed excitement for Warriors 2021 college draftee and flyhalf Danny Giannascoli who will step into the number 10 jersey.

“Danny is a huge talent, and coming up against a team like ATL who puts a ton of focus on defensive pressure is going to be exciting to see how he reacts as a young and upcoming American flyhalf,” Davies said.

This week’s roster will also feature some familiar names that the Warriors community knows very well. Warriors’ veterans Franco van den Berg, Josh Whippy, Matt Jensen and Angus MacLellan will bring experience and skill to Saturday’s match. Both Lance Williams and Alex Tucci are also on the roster, making their official MLR comeback after suffering knee injuries during the 2020 season.

“We as a staff have put together a strong team with a good amount of X-Factor, with the likes of Joe Mano, Mikey Te’o and Josh Whippy in the backfield to hopefully create some good running rugby for our fans to enjoy,” said Utah Warriors Head Coach Shawn Pittman. “That’s been one of the driving factors of how we want to play this year and how we’ve prepared the team in the pre-season.”

Pittman, who was named interim head coach back in January, is looking forward to coaching on his team’s home turf. Pittman joined the Warriors organization in 2019 as an assistant coach for the 2020 MLR season. Due to COVID-19 bringing the season to a halt the week of the Warriors’ scheduled home opener, Pittman will finally get to lead this team in a home match.

“Finally getting to coach in the stadium is going to be an exciting moment for us as on-field staff,” Pittman said. “I know that the players are looking forward to stepping on the pitch after being absent from hosting a home game since the 2019 season.”

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