Utah Warriors Fall In Season-Opener Against San Diego Legion

Feb 18, 2023, 7:02 PM

Utah Warriors against San Diego Legion...

Image of the Utah Warriors game against the San Diego Legion (Photo courtesy of Utah Warriors Rugby)

(Photo courtesy of Utah Warriors Rugby)

HERRIMAN, Utah – San Diego led the entire way as Utah is left searching for answers after a disappointing 33-17 defeat to open the year.

In their sixth season of existence, the Utah Warriors opened the 2023 Major League Rugby season against the San Diego Legion. This fixture was played at Snapdragon Stadium in San Diego, California.

RELATED: The Utah Warriors Are Preparing For Upcoming Season Opener

First Half

An acknowledged weak point last season, the Warriors goal line defense held strong into the 14th minute of the match before San Diego scored the first try of the season. After adding the conversion San Diego held a 7-0 lead.

Utah didn’t waste any time responding. A Warrior counter-attack allowed Joe Mano to score a try. Utah failed the conversion, trailing 7-5.

It took almost 15 minutes for the first points of the match. It took less than five minutes more for fans to see the third try of the match when the Legion punched one over the line.

San Diego led 12-5 after the hydration break.

The Legion closed the half on a 13-0 run to take a 20-5 halftime lead.

Second Half

The Legion continued pulling away, adding three more points in the 49th minute to take a 23-5 lead.

After a penalty, Warrior Paul Lasike battled across the goal line for a clean seven points to make the score 23-13.

San Diego punched across their fourth try of the match in the 57th minute. A try made the score 30-12 Legion.

RELATED: Utah Warriors Announce 2023 MLR Schedule

in the 67th minute, Utah added a try to remain within striking distance. After missing the conversion, San Diego led 30-17.

The Legion went on to win 33-17.

Utah Warriors Ready For Regular Season

“This is six weeks of preparation. It’s been intense,” Head Coach Greg Cooper said. “The warm-up games help. But this is round one, the real stuff. Really excited about taking on San Diego in San Diego”

Cooper is in his first season as the fourth Head Coach in Utah Warriors franchise history. He said he was looking forward to the season opener.

“We’re confident,” said Cooper. “We’re taking on strong competition. But, we’re prepared.”

Coach Cooper was candid about the state of the team from last year and what he expects going into this season.

“We need to play to our strengths,”  said. “Clearly, we’re a strong set-piece team. That’s our key strength. Our defense last year wasn’t particularly strong, we want to change that. We want to see this team get more aggressive on the defense.”

Bailey Wilson, Flanker for the Warriors, has his eyes set on the short-term. A win in week one.

“We just want to have a good start to the season,” Wilson said. “I think that’ll set us up in a nice spot. Hopefully, we can see the work we’ve put in come true.”

Up Next

The Warriors will open the 2023 home schedule at Zions Bank Stadium in Herriman, Utah when they welcome in the Dallas Jackals on Saturday, February 25.  This fixture is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. (MT). Fans can find Warriors tickets here.

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Utah Warriors Fall In Season-Opener Against San Diego Legion