Utah Warriors Secure First 2021 Win On The Road
AUSTIN, Texas – The Utah Warriors took a bonus-point victory in Austin, Texas against Western Conference rival, the Austin Gilgronis. The Warriors brought home a 30-28 win in a thrilling and physical battle that carried the full eighty minutes and then some.
“Getting road wins will be key this season, particularly in-conference,” said Warriors interim head coach Shawn Pittman. “We made it hard on ourselves at times, but I’m proud that our guys ground out that win on the road. There’s a lot to build on positively with a win like this.”
The Utah Warriors took early possession of the ball from the kickoff and were first to put points on the board in the 5th minute with a successful penalty kick by Hagen Schulte.
After an exchange of possessions by both teams, the Utah Warriors’ hooker Sama Malolo received a yellow card in the 19th minute, landing him in the sin bin. With the Warriors a man down and Austin inside of Utah’s 22, Austin utilized their upper hand and scored their first try in the 20th minute. After a successful conversion, the Gilgronis took the lead, 3-7.
A strong passing series advanced the Warriors down to the Gilgronis 22. An offsides penalty on Austin caused the Warriors to kick into touch. After the lineout, a maul landed Utah at the try line. Although the Gilgroni defense held them back, a series of well-placed passes resulted in Michael Baska scoring the Warriors their first try of the game and 2021 season.
Shortly after scoring their first try, Utah capitalized on another lineout series that saw Josh Whippy make a skillful overhead pass to Lance Williams, resulting in the flanker scoring the Warriors’ second try, increasing their lead to 15-7.
A series of penalties on both sides kept both teams from scoring again before the half.
The second half started with back-and-forth possessions and penalties, but a breakaway run by Utah’s Tyler Fisher ignited some momentum for the Warriors. A pass from Baska allowed Malolo to drive through the Gilgroni defense with captain Bailey Wilson pushing hard on his hip. The two players’ efforts landed them in the try zone, earning the Warriors another try. After a successful conversion, the Warriors took the score to 22-7.
Austin answered back quickly, capitalizing on a lineout for their second try, bringing the score to 22-14.
Almost 10 minutes later, Utah took possession and capitalized on their own lineout. A maul allowed Jurie van Vuuren to punch it into the try zone and extend the Warriors’ lead, 27-14 after a missed conversion.
A Gilgronis try added points to the board, but a penalty kick by Schulte kept the Warriors ahead, 30-21. Austin attempted to close the gap, and their try and successful conversion tightened up the score, 30-28 with just five minutes to play.
The Warriors won the back-and-forth battle for possession that followed, despite multiple penalties. The Gilgronis opted for a 52-meter penalty attempt in injury time. The penalty kick fell short and wide and ended the game with a Warriors’ win on the road, 30-28.
The Utah Warriors will open their home slate of games next weekend against the Eastern Conference’s Toronto Arrows on March 27 at 7:00 p.m. This game will be featured as the MLR Game-of-the-Week broadcast on F2S. The Warriors have been cleared for over 75% capacity seating at Zions Bank Stadium for this game. For ticket and match information, visit www.WarriorsRugby.com.