Haggis rugby wins again
Following a lopsided 84-38 victory over the Denver Barbarians Oct. 10, the Park City Haggis rugby squad took the field at City Park again last Saturday for a game against the Glendale Raptors. The result was another big win for Haggis as the local squad cruised to a 55-32 victory.
Park City got out to a 43-17 lead before making some substitutions and allowing the Raptors to claw their way to within 30 points.
Last week, Haggis President and Coach Jason Hoke said it’s sometimes difficult for visiting teams to travel with full squads. After Saturday’s game against Glendale, though, Hoke said he was impressed with the competitiveness shown by the visiting side.
"They brought a pretty competitive squad, but not a huge roster," he said. "Still, it was definitely a lot more competitive than last week."
However, Hoke continued, Park City’s depth made it tough for the Raptors to keep up for the entire game.
"With injuries or fitness or the altitude [affecting other teams], if you have to make subs, it changes your game plan," he said. "If the [home team] is able to roll out fresh legs in the last 15-20 minutes, that really helps."
Park City won with two offensive outbursts at home the last two weeks and Hoke said that’s the style of game the team prefers. Haggis would rather engage in a shootout than a defensive struggle.
"Our game play is pretty free-flowing," he said. "It’s a lot of ball-in-hand for our really good athletes. Sometimes we’re not as organized as the other teams, but our athletes and our game plan allow us to be fine offensively."
Defensively, Hoke admitted, Park City isn’t as strong as some other teams in the league.
"We’re still trying to shut other teams down, but a lot of it is mental and a lot of it is fitness," he said. "Defense is not nearly as fun as offense, so you have to get people to enjoy defensive victories as much as offensive ones."
The Raptors held Park City to nearly 30 fewer points than the Barbarians did thanks to a good system, Hoke said.
"They’re a stouter defensive team," he said. "They’ve got a really good defensive pattern. Offensively, they’ve got some good athletes in their back line and they took advantage of us missing some first-stop tackles."
This Saturday, Haggis hosts its final regular-season game before the winter break. Park City (3-2 overall) is scheduled to take on Boulder RFC (3-0).
"We just have to take care of our home field," Hoke said. "In a league like this, road wins are hard to get. We have to make sure we take care of home field. This will be, by far, a tougher game than the last two. They play very smart, organized rugby. They grind it out and kick the ball very efficiently. We have to bring the right attitude both offensively and defensively."
Saturday’s game at City Park is scheduled to start at 1 p.m.
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The Miners are truly a brotherhood, relying on one another to help their teammates go farther. After a few players missed last year’s 4A state semifinal game, this year’s group made sure those guys got the chance to experience this year’s semifinals. When injuries last week had the chance to derail the season, unsung heroes stepped up for the win. Now No. 1 Park City faces No. 2 Sky View in the 4A state title game on Friday at Rice Eccles Stadium.