This year’s summer marks Rugby Utah’s third consecutive year running a USA Touch Rugby sanctioned Touch Rugby League. The league continues to offer opportunities for the experienced, familiar and those new to sport the chance to enjoy this non-full contact version of the game of rugby. We kicked off the season in early July with a Men’s Elite division and Corporate Coed division. Every year has seen the league grow and especially in the Corporate Coed division. The league also returned this year to the Five 12 Championship Field in the Silicone Slopes area of Lehi right off Ashton Boulevard. The location has proven to be perfect for the league due to its location next to I-15 and the Front-runner train station, making it ideal for teams to commute to and from the competition.
The league follows FIT(Federation of International Touch) rules and regulations. All participants we’re governed and officiated by USA Touch certified referees which allowed for more structure and consistency of play. This year we opened as usual with both divisions playing a round robin round to determine the top 5 teams who would then proceed to play in the elimination round for both divisions.
Men’s Elite Division
This year’s participating teams in the Men’s Elite division saw the return of familiar names from previous years’ competitions. This year saw the return of Untouchables, West Park Rugby Club, BYU Old Boys, Utah National Guard and a new comers Humless. The finals for the men’s division saw reigning champions Untouchables defend its title for the third time against Humless. The match resulted in a drop-off where both teams each had to lose a player in a two-minute over-time. The Untouchables we’re able hold on to their title for another year after edging Humless by one try (6-5). According to Untouchables team captain and former USA Touch Co-Captain Tahuahi Berryman “any game that takes us into a drop-off is an awesome final to watch. It was fast, it was tough, it was competitive, as expected when its untouchables against Humless. I didn’t expect it to top last years final but it did. It’s great to see the growth of the game and competition here in Utah when it comes to touch.”
Corporate Coed Division
In the Corporate Coed division we saw the return of two-time reigning champions DOMO and their rivals from across the slopes, Adobe. Along with their return we’re the SLC Scrumbags and Rugby R&O. Three new comers proved to be super contenders in this division, DMBA, Rugby Realtors and Dirt Pounders (Best Vinyl). The new comers all forced their way into the elimination round and saw Rugby realtors take down DOMO and Dirt Pounders defeat Adobe to both have a seat in the finals. The finals was tightly contested and saw the Dirt Pounders edge the Rugby Realtors by one point (5-4). Kama Muti who lead and coached the Dirt Pounders into the finals and win it had this to say ”We grew from 9 to a steady 22 player rosters with 5 females and 17 males, these were players ranging from ages 16 – 40s most of whom had little to no experience with rugby. My goal was team unity, love and respect for the game and have a great time doing it. This was easily our favorite day of the week. Are we going to do this again next year? Absolutely! This is definitely in line with what we do here in Best Vinyl and Redmond. We believe that everything we do is to help “Elevate The Human Experience.” Fencing is a by-product of our whys and Touch Rugby. It did just that for those that got involved. Look for more then a 22 player roster next season. “
Every year we have seen the league grow and spark new interests from companies and teams looking to have a great time with their friends and co-workers outside of work. Hagoth Lelepali from DOMO said “The first two years we saw some pretty good competition, especially from our friendly rivals, Adobe. This year, the level of play really ramped up. Teams from last year were better and there were some new teams that were really good. The gap in the skill level between corporate coed division and men’s elites division has become smaller, resulting in some really competitive games. I’m excited to see how much better the competition will be even next year – Domo will be back to reclaim the championship!”
The Touch Rugby League will look to provide more opportunities to grow the sport and expand it’s competition to more parts within the state and throughout the year. Any teams interested in participating in either the Corporate Coed or Men’s Elite division’s can contact Rugby Utah’s Director of Touch Rugby, William Racule (William.firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information on how they can participate or become involved.