Utah Rugby League Hosts Successful Talent Clinic
The USA Hawks Mens Head Coach, Sean Rutgerson, traveled to Utah on January 6th to conduct a rugby league talent clinic. The event took place at the Zion Bank Training facility in Herriman, Utah, and granted some of the most talented players from both Utah Rugby League Association (URLA) and Pacific Coast Rugby League (PCRL) the opportunity to showcase their skills. Coach Rutgerson put these players to the test and was impressed with what he saw.
"I was interested to see the fitness test results at the higher altitude and there were some good performances," said Rutgerson. "Throughout the 3 hour session I didn't give them much rest, and I was happy with what they got through. Everyone was enthusuastic and they all trained hard."
Rutgerson also was able to connect with players from URLA's youth competition and he refereed some of their 9's games that day. "Both the boys and girls showed some real skill," said Rutgerson. "It was also good to see the support from a lot of families and friends watching and it was a great atmosphere."
George Tupou, CEO and co-founder of the URLA was happy for the oppurtunity to host the clinic over the weekend. "The impact of having the USA National Coach here in Utah, running a talent clinic, was pretty significant in so many ways." said Tupou. "We know it will bring more players to join rugby league here in Utah, even with just one clinic conducted. We had a good turnout from the selected players from both Utah and the PCRL players and all the players and coaches learned a lot on Saturday."
Both Rutgerson and Tupou agree that more clinics like this one is important to strengthen rugby league in the USA. "We just have to get out there more and continue to develop the sport," said Rutgerson. "More training camps and more games throughout every area in the US will continue to move the sport in the right direction."
"Our youth were particularly excited to meet the coach and some of them told me they realize now that there was a pathway for them in the future to play for the USA Hawks," said Tupou. "It's not every day we have the National Team coach in you local area, and we can't wait to have the coach come back and help build the game in Utah.
The USA Hawks Mens team is preparing for the upcoming game against Canada on March 1st in Las Vegas, NV. The game is part of what is a huge weekend for rugby league in the USA, along with the NRL hosted 9's tournament, NRL talent combine, and the season opening double header of NRL games at Allegiant Stadium.