Salt Lake City: This week Rugby Utah sent a representative to assist with the officiating of matches at USA Touch Rugby’s inaugural nationals tournament made up of teams from within the United States with open invitations to teams from around the globe. For the past 3 years Rugby Utah has built up the competitive touch rugby scene through their summer touch rugby league held every year. This league has been made open to the public and mainly consisted of corporate coed teams and men’s elite teams. In pursuit of growing the game of touch rugby, Rugby Utah has continued to build toward a much more compliant FIT(Federation of International Touch) scene and help further build on USA Touch Rugby’s vision to grow the game in the United States. To allow that to fully unfold Rugby Utah has taken some necessary steps along with the assistance and direction of USA Touch to ensure that we are operating on a standard and level ideal to that of FIT.

The necessary steps taken to build toward that started with ensuring that Rugby Utah has the resources and individuals primed to help grow the game. In early July, USA Touch Rugby’s director OJ Hawea visited Utah and certified individuals to level 1 touch rugby referees.  Arrangements were also made to send up Tasi Toala who is also a current standout member of the referees association in Utah for rugby union to go up to San Diego this week to officiate at nationals and to also represent Utah. Hawea said “Our major focus over the summer was to provide referee development education. We rolled out introductory level 1 course in almost every major city across the United States and each USA Touch member took advantage of these opportunities, including Rugby Utah. It’s exciting that even though Rugby Utah is still growing into a club that can bring teams to the national tournament, they have invested in this same major focus by sending Tasi Toala to the 2017 Canterbury USA Touch Nationals.  Tasi will have the opportunity to work with the best referee in the world and continue to develop into a world class referee. Understanding that Tasi’s goal is to be involved in international matches moving forward, both Rugby Utah and USA Touch are committed to helping him develop into that caliber of referee

With the support of USA Touch Rugby, Rugby Utah will continue to build toward a much more compliant touch rugby organization. Having individuals like Tasi on board who share the same vision of progress and development of the sport is what grows the game. “I’ve been looking forward to going to this event to help grow my ability to officiate in touch rugby and grow this version of the game in the US and especially here in Utah. Touch rugby gives more opportunities to individuals to engage in the sport of rugby as well and I am glad to grow the sport here in Utah” said Toala. During the summer touch rugby league Tasi was able to prepare himself for what to expect at nationals and will further build on the things he will learn from there as well.

Tasi Toala at USA Touch Rugby Nationals

Tasi Toala at USA Touch Rugby Nationals (Photo by Tasi Toala)

The experience Toala will gain in San Diego this weekend is something Rugby Utah will look to use to further enhance the game of touch rugby in Utah in a much more organized and competitive manner. Touch rugby has opened up some unique opportunities for individuals interested in the competitive nature of the sport of touch rugby, and has also opened up yet another avenue for rugby to shine in the state of Utah.

About Rugby Utah

Rugby Utah Ventures, LLC (RU) is the official Recognized Geographic Rugby Organization for USA Rugby and is focused on aggregating the strengths of rugby in the state of Utah, from the youth to the elite levels. The goal of RU is to unify rugby within the state through High Performance programs like the Olympic Development Academy and Community programs like the Rugby Business Network, Touch Rugby League and A 2nd Try Foundation. With these programs already producing positive results on and off the pitch the “United State of Rugby” looks to develop the most elite rugby players, coaches and referees and to develop the economic engines necessary to build and strengthen America’s rugby culture. For more information, visit www.rugbyutah.com    #UnitedStateofRugby