July 4 rugby games at City Park
Ryan Summerlin July 1, 2014
Once again, on the Fourth of July, City Park will play host to several rugby matches to keep alive a Park City tradition.
Haggis FC, a team made up of primarily Park City players, will play a couple games on Friday in what will be a full slate of rugby action.
Starting at 10 a.m. with a women’s game, there will be five total matches played on the field at City Park. The 11:30 game will be for anyone who wants to give rugby a try, the 1 p.m. game will feature Haggis FC against the United Rugby Club, the 2:30 p.m. game will see Park City take on the Mana Rugby Club and the 4 p.m. game will be an old-timers’ match.
Jason Hoke, the head coach of Haggis FC, said his team is excited about the chance to play in front of the hometown fans.
"Our games this year, we’ve lost two games and one of those was in the Sweet 16 out in Denver," he said. "We’ve been on a hot streak."
He added that the Park City fans are great supporters of the squad.
"It’s probably the most anticipated game for our guys all year," he said. "There’s not a lot of rugby in Utah. On the Fourth, the Utah rugby community all gets together that day.
"It’s great to play in front of a home crowd that knows and loves rugby. They show up in numbers to support us."
As part of a tradition that dates back to the 1970s, Hoke said the Haggis FC squad realizes that having fun is more important than the results on Independence Day.
"The Fourth is less about competition and more about the day," he said. "It’s our biggest fundraiser and social event of the year. I won’t play my complete ‘A’ side in any game."
That being said, Hoke added that he expects the games to be competitive and high-quality.
"[United] is an up-and-coming team we’re playing and I’m sure they’ll be a handful," he said.
Add in Haggis FC’s own youth influx, and it could be a great learning experience for all involved.
"I have a couple veterans mixed in with a lot of new faces," Hoke said. "The young kids have kind of reinvigorated everyone."
Hoke hopes to participate in the last match of the day, where some of the "old boys" get together for old time’s sake.
Overall, Hoke said, everyone who gets out and catches a game or two should have a good time. The players will be having a blast, after all.
"We really appreciate the support and love we get out of the Park City community," he said.