Gladiators Combine with Salt Lake County Talent
The Utah Men's Premiership notified the local rugby clubs of a 2 game series this year where players from Salt Lake County would have the opportunity to collaborate together, learn from each other and continue improving their ever growing Rugby technique in a couple games against Utah County players.
Moresby, coach of the Gladiators gladly stepped up to help with what was called the Salt Lake County Reds as several Gladiators showed interest. Along with Shaun Gaillard and Fets Vainikolo of the Utah Saints Rugby, they helped get the team rolling. With all hands on deck, they were able to introduce coach Loka Tonga into the mix.
With great coaches in place, a plan was set in motion for the Reds. There was a vision and Reds have the right people to execute it. The Salt Lake County Reds created a powerful team of Gladiators, Saints, Brothers & Spartans. Each willing to bring individual club styles together as ONE team. Their determination to grow and work together has been impeccable.
Game One of the Salt Lake County Reds vs the Utah County Blues was held on Saturday August 21 showing a Reds hot roster!
An intense game was played and the Reds brought in the victory at 63 Reds and 48 Blues. The skill level that was displayed on the field was strong!
Salt Lake City Gladiators player Rex Tasilimu was recognized as Forward MVP for the August 21st game. Rex is from Mapusaga Fou and is big on recognizing community as well as family. Son to Duke & Havila Purcell. Rex grew up watching his dad at Manua Soma and was strongly impacted on the passion he had for Rugby. His dad is a major reason as to why he plays. Wise words he's learned from his father were, "Always be a student and never stop learning. Be Humble." Such powerful advice to follow! The Salt Lake City Gladiators have become like family to Rex as he has been playing with them now for Five (5) years. He continues to show his dedication to the game by appearing regularly to practices and helping out when needed. He is a strong, dependable and determined member of the Gladiators club and we are thrilled to see him succeed. He recently participated in the Utah Warriors Combine showing a serious commitment to Utah Rugby. Rex is the team's Hooker for both teams he represents and can be a deadly forward force during a scrum. Rex is married to Lindsey, who you can find helping bring out water or monitoring players as the Club LPN. Congratulations Rex! Keep up the hard work!
Also recognized for the Saturday Aug 21st game for Backline Kome Tomasi. He has always had a love for soccer & rugby which is apparent in his kicking skills. The first game he played was in Samoa at St. Joseph College. He sharpened his skills playing at Moli O Le Ava and AUA All Blacks during 2017-2018. In 2019, Kome moved to Utah where he became part of the Salt Lake City Gladiators participating in Pioneer & Peaks 7s and moving into the 15s as he continues to play Rugby. Congratulations Kome for being recognized at this game.
With adrenaline running and high hopes for the next game, the Reds dove into practice for what we thought was the final game in the Utah County Blues vs the Salt Lake County Reds, County of Origin Series.
Though the kickoff time was delayed, the energy of this 2nd game wasn't slow at all. Intense scrums, incredible trys, and fabulous tackles were made during the first half in which the Reds took the lead at 20 Reds- 14 Blues.
The 2nd half was a whirlwind of activity as Blues came back pushing. After all was said and done, the Blues took this game at 41-32.
Teams gathered around in congratulations of a good game played. They had fought hard and have pictures to prove it.
The Reds Roster was on point though some where unable to make the game those there that day kept up the intensity. This powerhouse of a team continue to raise the bar in talent and capabilities.
After the game, Paulo Anani of the Salt Lake City Gladiators was recognized as Forward of the Game. Paulo started playing at age 17 for Leone Whites as a wing. He loved the sport and joined a rugby team his senior year. When he arrived in Utah, he could be found playing cricket, basketball and volleyball until he found the Rugby Club in West Valley, the Salt Lake City Gladiators Rugby Club where he now plays as the loose forward for their team. Paulo continues to show passion and appreciation for the game as he participates in Reds and contributes to the Gladiators. Congratulations on a great game!
The Backline MVP recognized for the Saturday Aug 28 game was Salt Lake City Gladiator Wally Seupole. He has played and watched rugby since he was 4 years old installing a deep love and passion for the game. His first official rugby game was when he was 9.
If he didn't have friends to play rugby with you could catch him practicing penalty kicks or conversions or kicking for line outs. Coaches from his neighborhood recognized his talent.
He has played mostly Fly Half but every once in a while he is shuffled around to play midfields, winger, full back and even half back providing him with a wide range of capabilities on the field. His top 3 positions in order would be 10, 13, and 9. Wally's goal is to continue playing rugby where he can share his talent, do his best and eventually make it to one of the top teams in the world. Congratulations Wally for continuing to do great at the sport you love!
The teams sat at Reds 1 and Blues 1. The County of Origins had TIED. After much discussion, Utah Men's Premiership has decided to host a THIRD GAME!
**You heard it here, ladies and gentlemen! There will in fact be a THIRD game to break the tie and see what county brings how the County of Origins bragging rights. Game looks to be taking place in October. Stay tuned for more details as we find more opportunities to play the game we love!