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Utah Warriors Improve to 2-1 on the Road

March 5, 2023 - Major League Rugby (MLR)
Utah Warriors News Release

Utah Warriors' Tai Kauwe in action
Utah Warriors' Tai Kauwe in action
(Utah Warriors)

CHICAGO - Utah Warrior players and coaches left the field on Sunday with an air of confidence and a bounce in their step following an intense 14-10 victory over the Chicago Hounds.

The match saw the Warriors rise up in the face of adversity in putting together a strong defensive performance in holding Chicago scoreless for almost 60 full minutes despite incurring two yellow cards.

"If you want to be a team that competes with the top you have to put up a strong defensive display," said Warriors coach Greg Cooper. "I've been around the game a long time and I'm incredibly proud of our guys because it was a huge defensive display today."

Chicago jumped out to an early 10-0 lead with the Warriors unable to capitalize on several opportunities, but finally cashed in when Henry Bell crossed the try line on a maul in the game's 35th minute.

"That dude can bang and he fits right in with what we want to do and how we want to play," Warriors flanker Lance Wiliiams said of Bell, who is in his first season with the Warriors. "I'm glad he got his first team try and it was really a team try on that one."

Shortly after Bell's try, Williams was issued a yellow card in what could have easily proved a huge momentum shift for the home team. But instead of ceding an advantage, Utah dug deep and even controlled a lot of the course of play for the ensuing 10 minutes despite playing down one man.

"We emphasized on being relentless this week," Williams said. "I'm so proud of the boys. Everyone worked their asses off with the focus of being relentless. I'm just very proud of all the boys."

Shortly after Williams was allowed to return, Joe Mano scored on a try, receiving a brilliant assist from Mika Kruse to complete a long run-out down the sidelines.

"Joe is a quiet guy who just puts his head down and works," Williams said. "He's so talented...and he's so smart and physical."

Williams himself played a big key in taking the win and was pointed out by Cooper along with several others in the postgame.

"It was an amazing performance from Lance and I think Bailey Wilson had a big game as well," Cooper said. "There's really no one out there that didn't play well."

Cooper also lended a lot of praise toward his two assistants, Shaun Davies and Robbie Abel in working to tighten up the team's overall execution in every facet considerably in relation to the two prior weeks.

"Our scrum was outstanding today and our line-out," Cooper said. "Our assistant coaches deserve a lot of credit for that."

Most adversity came in the game's 69th minute when forward Emerson Prior received a yellow card, forcing the Warriors to play a man down until the game's final minute. Those final 10 minutes saw Chicago take the majority of possession, but strong tackling and precise execution prevented the home team from taking any advantage as Utah secured a thrilling road victory.

"I just couldn't be prouder of the boys," Williams said. "We came together and showed that we can be a great defensive team. We put the work in all week and it paid off. I couldn't be prouder."

With the win Utah improves to 2-1 on the season and will take a bye next weekend before traveling to take on the Nola Gold on March 18.

Images from this story

Utah Warriors' Tai Kauwe in action
Utah Warriors' Tai Kauwe in action


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The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.

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