A wild romp: Haggis rugby pummels UVU in Fourth match | ParkRecord.com

A wild romp: Haggis rugby pummels UVU in Fourth match

Christopher Kamrani, The Park Record

The annual Fourth of July rugby extravaganza didn’t disappoint the hometown crowd Monday afternoon.

The main event, which featured the local team Haggis Rugby Club facing the Utah Valley University club team, turned into a romp as Haggis thrashed UVU 75-19 at City Park.

"We killed them," said 44-year-old team member Robert Lopez. "There was a lot of scoring, a lot of action and we just played really well together."

Lopez, who had a few scores on the day, said after one score, he ran to the corner of the pitch to celebrate with the adoring crowd.

"The atmosphere was just incredible," he said. "We all just sat around afterward and everyone was cheering. It’s just a great feeling to win it for the town."

Haggis’ first-year head coach Jason Hoke, who was a player for the club for six years and played with the Park City Muckers club before that, said his player’s familiarity with one another proved to be the difference against UVU.

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"Just a lot of experience on one side," he said. "That, and we’re together practicing every day. It was definitely a good day. I think, for more than me, it was good for the fans to see a running rugby match."

Hoke said while the stakes are higher and the crowd balloons at the Fourth of July match, he tells his guys to keep the same mentality no matter which team they are facing.

"The Fourth is more about having fun than anything else," he said. "It’s kind of a reprieve or reward for a hard season. It’s great and it’s just fun. It’s the participation by the people in Park City that make it the best place to play."

Lopez said Haggis’ first match of the day saw its B Team fall to the United Alumni squad, 35-17. Many of the team’s younger players took on a squad comprised of former high school stars.

"A lot of our young kids played very hard," Lopez said. "A lot of experienced guys came out to play with them later in the match as well. I was really proud of those guys."

Lopez said Haggis will now head to a large rugby tournament in Vail, Colo., July 16-17, where the team will face former nemesis, a club team from Aspen, which recently combined forces with a team from Glendale, Colo.

"They’re going to be another ski-town powerhouse we’re going to go up against," he said.