Monday, October 31, 2016

Spartans Win Utah Premier Division

Salt Lake Spartans win the inaugural Iosepa Shield and are crowned the Rugby Utah Men's Premier Division (Photo Credit William Racule, Rugby Utah)
Press Release

Salt Lake City, UT–The Rugby Utah Men’s Premier Division (MPD) crowned its champion today during the Iosepa Shield Finals as the Salt Lake Spartans beat the Utah Brothers 15-10 today at the Regional Athletic Complex capping off a full day of finals matches.

The Spartans took the inaugural ownership of the Iosepa Shield, the MPD’s perpetual championship trophy named after the late 19th century Polynesian settlement in Utah’s West Desert, after finishing the regular season 5-1, with their lone loss coming at the hands of the Brothers by the score of 18-17.
The title bout was a physical affair with both teams probing deep into the other’s half, but neither coming away with points until the 15th minute when Brothers notched a penalty kick from 35 meters out.

Against a heavy head wind the Spartans were able to advance deep in the Brothers’ half and eventually dot down for the game’s opening try in the 25th minute. A penalty goal to follow from the Spartans’ and eventual championship MVP Makafana Palu put their lead out to 8-3 at the half.
The Brothers weren’t about to lay down however and would find the endzone in the 47th minute. A missed conversion tied the game at 8-8.

Take the jump to read more.

For the next 15 minutes the game seemed destined for a tie until the Brothers’ Ben Mataele made a break out wide and ran under the posts for the presumed try. But a deemed shepharding infraction brought the play back.

The Brothers would make another successful penalty goal in the 67th minute to edge ahead 11-8.
But the final try of the game came from the Spartans in the 75th minute as a well-worked set of passes saw the score go under the posts. An easy conversion put the lead to 15-11.

In the final moments a Spartans turn-over had the crowd on the edge of the seats as the Brothers looked to maintain possession and score a game-winning try. But a late Brothers’ infraction turned the ball back to the Spartans.

The Spartans kicked the ball into touch and game ended with the victors rushing the field.

“We knew coming in to this game it will be a tough game against the Brothers,” said the Spartans’ Efiafi Fekitoa, “They are great team. And they play a physical style of game. We had to play a perfect game to beat them. This week of preparation has been great. We had to be physical upfront and play great defense to have a chance of beating them. And we are lucky to come up on top at the end. The new Rugby Utah MPD was a great competition. We are excited for the future of rugby here in state of Utah as we continue to build and promote our youth and the overall rugby community.”

Brothers head coach Lofi Fuatogi echoed Fekitoa’s statement and shared his praise and admiration for his team.

“As a strong believer in my players,” Fuatogi said, “We maybe got knocked down today, but we will never be knock out. We are going to come back strong and we will always stay together, stay humble and have each others back. We know it didn’t go our way today, but we believe unity is our strength and we are strong as one. Congrats to the Spartans and we’re looking forward to next year’s MPD season.”

Other finals action saw the Salt Lake Gladiators beat the West Valley Lions 52-41 for 3rd place in the MPD and Park City Haggis exact some revenge for a regular season loss to the United by beating them 78-17 in the 5th/6th final.

Next up on the schedule for the Men’s Premier Division will be the 2017 MPD Planning Meeting on November 12th in Draper, UT at 9am-12pm. All teams in the Utah area, including those not in the MPD, are welcome to attend as plans for the 2017 season in both 7s and 15s will be discussed. Click Here for more details.


15′: Brothers 3
25′: Spartans 5
36′: Spartans 3
HALFTIME: Spartans 8 Brothers 3
47′: Brothers 5
67′: Brothers 3
75′: Spartans 5/2
FINAL SCORE: Spartans 15 Brothers 11


Salt Lake Spartans
1 Dannies Kivalu
2 Jay Fonokalafi
3 Sione Manu
4 Sone Moa
5 Andrew Pahulu
6 John Vave
7 Tito Sua
8 Taumata Mamao
9 Efi Fekitoa
10 Maka Palu
11 Samiu Tuifua
12 Sione Taka
13 Taaniela Valu
14 Teni/Ordain Tuai
15 Mapa Epenisa
16 Sonatane Kaufusi
17 Taniela Lolo
18 Paula Tuakoi
19 Tevita Maasi
20 Tongakilo Katoa
21 Maika Hafoka
22 Ikuvalu Vaitohi
23 Tevita Vainuku
Head Coach: John Udy

Utah Brothers
1 Rottee Tuipulotu
2 David Taufa
3 Solomone Tu’ifua
4 Talite Fonua
5 Topini Manu
6 Sione Fa’onelua
7 Ray Havea
8 Lane Smith
9 Viliami Sapoi
10 Luki Felila
11 Folau Lapuaho
12 Saia Uhila
13 Toetu/Lau Tunuufi
14 Sa/Faale Palepoi
15 Seminari Farani
16 Anitelea Pesa
17 Duke Vaha’i
18 Feni/Jonathan Makoni
19 Fonua Kautai
20 Saia Otuafi
21 Eiki Osamu
22 Ben/Sosaia Mataele
23 John/Sione Latu
Head Coach: Lofi Fuatogi
Asst. Coach: George Makoni

About Rugby Utah

Rugby Utah 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 RUV is to unify rugby within the state while also developing commercial interests to build the country’s finest training facilities, promote the most elite rugby events, and to develop the rugby lifestyles brands necessary to strengthen America’s rugby culture. For more information, visit  #UnitedStateofRugby  

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