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The Utah Lions dominated the weekend’s High School Rugby Challenge run in conjunction with the Collegiate Rugby Championship. Allowing just 17 points all weekend, the Lions capped off a 6-0 championship run with a 26-0 defeat of Malvern Prep Sunday in front of the CRC crowd at PPL Park.
The Lions are an all-star team out of Salt Lake City, and the HSRC title was the club’s second major tournament in this year. In January, they won the High School bracket of the Las Vegas Invitational. As High School 7s struggles to find its feet, the LVI and HSRC stand as the premier high school tournaments in the country.
“It just shows that Utah is actually really good at rugby, because we win Las Vegas, which was Western teams, and this here was Eastern,” said Utah’s Bridger Gilgen, who was also on the team that won in Las Vegas. “It was good for Utah and good exposure for us, too, as players.”
Gilgen, like many of the Lions, enjoyed playing the stadium, but wants to do it again as part of the main event.
“I’ve always dreamed of being in a stadium. I used to want to do that for football, but now I want it to be in rugby, and I got my dream fulfilled. I want to do it again, because it was unreal,” he said.
“I would love to play for one of these teams and have the crowd cheering.”
The Lions have a good chance to be back in an MLS stadium cheering soon, when they travel to Denver 7s later this month. The High School final there will be played at Dick's Sporting Goods Park.