Utah Warriors Host Improved San Diego Legion
HERRIMAN, Utah – The Utah Warriors are back at home this Saturday, June 12, to take on the San Diego Legion at Zions Bank Stadium.
Saturday’s match will mark the fifth time that Utah and San Diego have faced off. The Warriors are looking for their first win in the series, currently sitting at 0-4 all-time against the Legion.
Coming off a 40-30 victory in Week 12, San Diego enters the game with a record of 5-6 as the Legion currently sit in fifth-place in Major League Rugby’s Western Division with 29 table points.
“San Diego is always a tough team to play against with the amount of talent on their squad,” said Utah Warriors Head Coach Shawn Pittman. “They had a massive win over a strong Toronto team in Week 12 and I think they are very much in the hunt for a playoff spot in the Western Division. We’ve prepped the boys well for this week and hopefully this will allow us to go into the game with confidence.”
Utah enters the match in sole possession of second-place in MLR’s Western Conference with a 6-5 record and 36 table points following last week’s come from behind victory over the Seattle Seawolves. Warriors Assistant Coach Shaun Davies says the Warriors will look to feed off of the home crowd at Zions Bank Stadium as they attempt to put an end to San Diego’s three-game winning streak.
“San Diego has a lot of momentum right now with three wins in a row and has brought in some new faces who have experience playing in big games overseas,” said Davies. “Fortunately, we’re at home where we love playing in-front of our fans, which gives us a ton of energy. In attack, we know San Diego will want to bring line-speed and stop us from getting gain-line. If we’re able to play with speed and stop them from being able to get set, we will be able to give ourselves some opportunities out wide where we are very explosive. We know this is a big game in terms of playoff seeding but we want to go out there and play our style of rugby while enjoying ourselves at home.”
Davies also expressed his excitement that Utah would see the return of fullback Cliven Loubser and flanker Thomas Tu’avao to the active roster this week as both players have recovered from injuries that kept them sidelined for a handful of games.
“It’s exciting to have both Tommy and Cliven back on the active roster this week,” said Davies. “Tommy adds a ton of physicality and is willing to do the dirty work that no one really sees. Meanwhile, Cliven adds an x-factor and excitement level whenever he sees the field. We’re lucky to have both back but I’m especially happy to have Cliven back after an extended spell on the sideline.”
The Warriors, led by co-captains Mikey Te’o and Bailey Wilson, are hoping to continue their high-scoring outings as Utah enters the Week 13 matchup as the third-highest scoring team in Major League Rugby in total points.
“Coach Davies has done an amazing job creating such variety in our attack,” said Pittman. “Opposing teams struggle to defend us for multiple phases and I think that is where we can separate ourselves from many teams.”