Photo by David Roura
The 2015 season did not end quite the way the Utah Valley University rugby team wanted it to after it fell to the Dixie State Red Storm in the Rocky Mountain Cup Championship in St. George, Utah.
However, the Wolverines are starting the 2016 season with great news. UVU is invited to participate in the Red Bull Uni 7s Tournament. The event will be held in Glendale, Colo. Aug. 25 and will feature nine teams that will compete to represent the United States against 10 teams from across the world in the Red Bull International Tournament held in England.
Head coach Adam Griffee believes the team has a great chance to make it all the way. In part, he attributes his confidence to some of the recruiting they have been able to do.
“We have a couple guys joining our team this year that have international 7s experience,” said Griffee. “We have the talent, we’ve got some players, we really have a good shot.”
The invite came after another team dropped out of the tournament. According to Griffee, after finding out about the event he reached out to Jason Hoke, a former UVU rugby coach who is now part of the alumni board, and asked if there was any room to get in.
“I told him what we’ve been doing, and the success that we’ve had,” said Griffee.
The Wolverines are always looking for a way to get their name out there, and according to loose head Jeff Mann, this is yet another great way to do that.
“It’s a great way to get the school seen,” said Mann. “It’s going to take a lot of hard work and determination in the next two weeks to start training again as a team, but I think we can take the tournament.”
The overall feeling among the players and coaches is they have a real shot at making the tournament held in England. If they win the tournament in Colorado, Red Bull will fly 15 players to England to represent the United States. This could do wonders for the Wolverines in getting further exposure.
Among the teams competing for a chance to represent the United States are Clemson University, Arizona State University, University of Utah and Denver University.
This will be a challenging goal to accomplish. However, UVU is relying heavily on previous seasons’ success, new players added to the roster and the leadership of seasoned players returning this year.
Whatever the outcome of the Red Bull Tournament, it is evident that the Wolverines are starting to make their mark in the colligate rugby world.
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