Utah Valley’s rugby club has slowly carved themselves a niche as a respectable program in this state of rugby powerhouses.
With two of the nations best rugby teams sharing the same area, BYU and Utah, it’s hard for the Wolverines to gain any respect. Nevertheless, out of the shadows of its counterparts the Wolverines have established themselves as contenders for the division II championship crown.
After a fall season in which the Wolverines posted a 3-2 record with wins over divisional foes Utah State and Idaho State anything but an extended run in the post-season tournament will satisfy. With their two losses coming to nationally ranked teams like BYU and Utah a 3-2 record appears much better than it sounds.
Last season the Wolverines took a major step forward as they made a run to the final 16 in post-season play and were ranked as high as number 12 nationally. Utah Valley defeated Santa Rosa, the 7th ranked team, before losing to Humbolt State in the tournament.
As expectations for this year’s squad appear to be high, coach Gary Brown is only concerned with taking another step forward. “Our primary goal is to continue to progress as a team,” said Brown, “We want to go further in the playoffs each year.”
As the Wolverines prepare for another spring season it’s tough to find a team that will be better prepared come tournament time. Utah Valley will head down to St. George to participate in the Red Rock Tournament before taking on Boise State at the end of February.
The Wolverines will also face some of the best competition in the nation as they play BYU and Utah. “You won’t play anybody better than them,” said Brown.
Without a football team and with the hockey season drawing to an end as rugby begins Utah Valley fans looking for a contact sport to support won’t have to look far. The Wolverines will look to improve on last season and make a run for the Division II national championship. “Our club has tremendous heart,” said Brown. “And when it comes down to it; we want it more.”