Monday, July 11, 2016

Utah ODA Takes Heartland 7s

Press Release

Salt Lake City, UT—Rugby Utah’s state-based elite representative 7s team, the National Development Academy (NDA), supported by GoPlay Sports Tours, which is a USA Rugby-sanctioned NDA program, took home its second title of the short 7s rugby season as they beat the Denver Barbarians 24-21 for the title.

The NDA’s Heartland 7s title qualifies the team for the USA Rugby National Championships in Denver August 13-15.

Meanwhile, four of the Rugby Utah NDA members who were playing with Tiger Rugby in Dallas, TX at the Regenesis International Rugby 7s Tournament helped Tiger win its pool and reach the championship final only to lose to the South African All-Stars 17-7.

The four players selected to play with Tiger Rugby were BYU All American Calvin Whiting, Weber State University captain Keoni Dellermanm, Salt Lake City Gladiators standout Seu Siliga and BYU newcomer Zach Webber.

Take the jump to read more.
“We missed these guys in Kansas City,” said Rugby Utah head coach Ben Nicholls, “But the early feedback is the guys did well and represented their clubs and the state well.”

Nicholls went on to recap his team’s performance at the Heartland 7s in Kansas City, MO after his team took its 2016 record to 18-0 beating the Denver Barbarians in the final.

“The guys continue to scratch and claw their way ahead,” Nicholls said, “We still need some more consistency in key areas if we’re going to expect good things at nationals and beyond. But I like the guys’ attitudes and work ethic.”

The NDA started the Heartland 7s campaign beating Kansas City RFC 48-0, while the second match saw the NDA win 40-5 over the Black Dragons. The final pool match saw an early title preview as Rugby Utah met the Denver Barbarians with the NDA winning 26-12.

A semifinal match up saw Rugby Utah meet the Glendale Raptors with the NDA winning 17-5.

The Rugby Utah and Denver final was delayed due to lightning but when play ensued the NDA held on for the narrow 24-21 rematch victory.

“We achieved one of our goals for this season by qualifying for nationals,” Nicholls said, “But there’s still lots of room for these guys to improve. Regardless, they’re representing their clubs well and showing the state what the possibilities can be for our top talent.”

Next up for the NDA is the Pioneer 7s in Salt Lake City on July 23rd. When asked about his selections for the Pioneer 7s Nicholls was going to assess things over the coming week since his team has already qualified for nationals.

“We still have some guys we need to qualify for nationals by having them play in a second qualifier tournament,” Nicholls said, “And we’re tending to some injuries. So we’ll see who gets the call in the coming days.”

For more details on the Rugby Utah NDA and the member clubs please visit

For details on the team as they travel and for live scoring updates please follow Rugby Utah on Facebook and Twitter.


At Swope Soccer Village & Victory Field—Saturday, July 9th

Vern Ale (Mana)
Don Pati (Park City Haggis) ©
Jason Pye (Park City Haggis)
Jared Whippy (BYU)
Tua Laei (BYU)
Peni Pahulu (Provo Steelers/Humless 7s)
Joseph Nicholls (BYU)
Iaone Iaone (SLC Gladiators)
Josh Anderson (BYU)
Pei Kuli (Provo Steelers/Humless 7s)
Naki Angilau (West Valley Lions)
Robert Ah Sue (Park City Haggis/Brothers 7s)

Head Coach: Ben Nicholls
Asst. Coach: Jeff Hullinger

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