"We have a good core group of players from last year but ultimately we are a new team, as are the teams we need to play to qualify. Last year means nothing in terms of qualifying or we would already have an automatic invite" Head Coach Ben Nicholls said in a Rugby Utah release.
Nicholls is assisted by former USA player Jeff Hullinger, and there's more USA firepower on the Utah playing roster.
John Cullen was an All American at University of Utah and was capped by the USA as a lock and flanker. He's a big, powerful presence as a prop. Don Pati has been capped by the USA at 7s and will be in the middle of the action. Davenport product Anthony Welmers has also been capped at the 7s level, albeit only the once.
BYU sends several players to the Rugby Utah squad, with Jackson Kaka, brothers Jared and Josh Whippy, former HS All American Zach Webber, as well as flyhalf Joseph Nicholls and wing Josh Anderson.
Vernon Ale was on last year's national championship squad, Kisa Kalougata is a talented runner who has been in and out of major Utah teams for some years. Havea Unufe (aka Keaweamahi Unufe), played with the USA Falcons in their South American 7s tour earlier this year. He is the brother of USA player Maka Unufe.
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Championship Fields (4 & 6) will be streamed LIVE June 24th, the full schedule can be found here.
Rugby Utah Select 7s squad for Denver 7sVernon Ale
Coach: Ben Nicholls
Assistant Coach: Jeff Hullinger