Rugby: Players from Aurora programs set for 16th Rocky Mountain Rugby Challenge

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Will Fifita, who played for the Aurora Saracens club rugby team in the spring, is part of the Rugby Colorado varsity team set to compete in the 16th Rocky Mountain Rugby Challenge June 18-19, 2016, at the Aurora Sports Park. (Photo by Courtney Oakes/Aurora Sentinel)

AURORA | For the 16th time, elite prep rugby players arrive in Colorado for the Rocky Mountain Rugby Challenge, which runs Saturday and Sunday at the Aurora Sports Park.

Besides Rugby Colorado teams, this season’s tournament features boys varsity and junior varsity teams from across the country (Arizona, Heart of America, Idaho, Minnesota, Oklahoma, So Cal, Texas, Utah) , as well as girls varsity teams and a sprinkling of middle school, who will play a combined 37 matches.

While the teams will play for a chance to bring home the tournament championship — the varsity final is scheduled for 4 p.m. Sunday — players will also be able to showcase their talents for coaches from the U.S. Junior National Team, with the possibility to represent the country abroad.

“It’s an awesome tournament that highlights not only the best talent in Colorado, but also throughout the country,” said Regis Jesuit High School coach, Glendale Raptor and Team USA member Zach Fenoglio, who played in the RMC three times and used it to launch his very successful professional playing career. “It’s a great opportunity for the next wave of youth players to showcase their skills and play against the best in the country.”

For a more in depth look at the Rocky Mountain Challenge — and basic fundamentals of the sport — see the Summer Fun feature from the Aurora Magazine, here.

The Rugby Colorado teams feature a mix of players from across the state, including some of the top players who played with the Regis Jesuit and Aurora Saracens club teams this spring. The teams met in the club semifinals, with Regis Jesuit prevailing in a tight match and going on to win the state championship.

From Regis Jesuit, Matt Peppercorn and Lou Vera made the varsity team and John Dowling, Hayes Ward, Matt Lies, Jack Peppercorn and Lucas Schaaf on the junior varsity, while Will & Steve Fifita, Noke Makoni, Mona O’Bard-Tuilaepa and Seldon Funaki represent the Aurora Saracens on the varsity team and Connor Bladsel, Melosi Tuilaepa, Lei Olevao and Lloyd Chavez appear on the junior varsity roster.

Courtney Oakes is Aurora Sentinel Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Aurora Prep Sentinel

2016 ROCKY MOUNTAIN RUGBY CHALLENGE

June 18-19 at Aurora Sports Park

SATURDAY, JUNE 18 (per RMCRugby.com)

8:30 a.m.: Opening ceremony (Field 3); 9:30 a.m.: VarsityA1: Utah vs. Idaho (Field 1), B1: Texas vs. Arizona (Field 2), C1: RUGBY COLORADO vs. Heart of America (Field 3), D1: Oklahoma vs. So Cal (Field 4), Middle School1: 5785 vs. Indiana (Field 5); 10:30 a.m.: JVA1: Utah vs. Minnesota (Field 1), B1: So Cal vs. 5785 (Field 2), C1: Texas vs. Heart of America (Field 3), D1: RUGBY COLORADO vs. Indiana (Field 4), Girls Varsity1: Utah vs. Mid America; 11:30 a.m.: VarsityA2: Nebraska vs. 5785 (Field 1), B2: Missouri vs. Indiana (Field 2), C2: Heart of American vs. New Mexico (Field 3), D2: Wisconsin vs. Minnesota (Field 4), Middle School 3: Indiana vs. RUGBY COLORADO; 12:30 p.m.: JVA2: Utah vs. Arizona (Field 1), B2: So Cal vs. Missouri (Field 2), C2: Texas vs. Nebraska (Field 3), D2: RUGBY COLORADO vs. Wisconsin (Field 4), Girls Varsity2: Minnesota vs. Idaho; 1:30 p.m.: Varsity — A3: Winner A1 vs. Winner A2 (Field 1), B3: Winner B1 vs. Winner B2 (Field 2), C3: RUGBY COLORADO vs. New Mexico, D3: Winner D1 vs. Winner D2, Girls JV — Mid America vs. RUGBY COLORADO; 2:30 p.m.: JV — A3: Minnesota vs. Arizona (Field 1), B3: 5785 vs. Missouri (Field 2), C3: Heart of America vs. Nebraska (Field 3), D3: Indiana vs. Wisconsin (Field 4), Girls Varsity — 3: Mid America vs. RUGBY COLORADO; 3:30 p.m.: Middle School — 2: 5785 vs. RUGBY COLORADO (Field 1), Girls Varsity — 4: Utah vs. Idaho (Field 2), Girls JV — Mid America vs. RUGBY COLORADO; 4:30 p.m.: Varsity — A4: Loser A1 vs. Loser A2 (Field 1), B4: Loser B1 vs. Loser B2 (Field 2), D4: Loser D1 vs. Loser D2 (Field 3), Girls Varsity — 5: RUGBY COLORADO vs. Minnesota

SUNDAY, JUNE 19  (per RMCRugby.com)

8 a.m.: Varsity — C2-1: Winner A4 vs. Winner A5 (Field 1), C2-2: Winner C4 vs. Winner D4 (Field 2), C3-1: Loser A4 vs. Loser B4 (Field 3), MS 2-1: Middle School No. 2 vs. Middle School No. 3 (Field 4); 9 a.m.: JV — C1-1: Pool A-D 2nd No. 1 vs. Pool A-D 2nd No. 4 (Field 2), C2-1: Pool A-D 3rd No. 1 vs. Pool A-D 3rd No. 4 (Field 3), C2-2: Pool A-D 3rd No. 2 vs. Pool A-D 3rd No. 3 (Field 4), Girls JV — Mid American vs. RUGBY COLORADO; 10 a.m.: VarsityC1-1: Loser A3 vs. Loser B3 (Field 1), C1-2: Loser C3 vs. Loser D3 (Field 2), Girls Varsity — 7: Minnesota vs. Mid America (Field 3), 8: Idaho vs. RUGBY COLORADO (Field 4), MS 2-2: Middle School No. 1 vs. Middle School No. 3; 11 a.m.: JV C1 – Consolation: JV C1-1 Loser vs. JV C1-2 Loser (Field 1), JV C2 Consolation: JV C2-1 Loser vs. JV C2-2 Loser (Field 2), Girls JV — Mid America vs. RUGBY COLORADO; Noon: Varsity Semi 1: Pool A-D No. 1 vs. Pool A-D No. 4 (Field 1), Varsity Semi 2: Pool A-D No. 2 vs. Pool A-D No. 3 (Field 2), Varsity C1 – Consolation: Loser C1-1 vs. Loser C1-2 (Field 3), Varsity C2 – Consolation: Loser C2-1 vs. Loser C2-2 (Field 4), Varsity C3-2: Loser A4 vs. Loser D4; 1 p.m.: JV Semi-1: Pool A-D Winner No. 1 vs. Pool A-D Winner No. 4 (Field 1), JV Semi-2: Pool A-D Winner No. 2 vs. Pool A-D Winner No. 3 (Field 2), MS 2-3: Middle School No. 1 vs. Middle School No. 2 (Field 3), Girls Varsity — 8: Utah vs. RUGBY COLORADO; 2 p.m.: Varsity 3/4: Loser Semi 1 vs. Loser Semi 2 (Field 1), Varsity C1 Final: Winner C1-1 vs. Winner C1-2 (Field 2), Varsity C2 Final: Winner C2-1 vs. Winner C2-2 (Field 3), Varsity C3-3: Loser B4 vs. Loser D4 (Field 4), Girls Varsity — 6: Mid America vs. Idaho; 3 p.m.: JV Final: Winner Semi 1 vs. Winner Semi 2 (Field 1), JV 3/4: Loser Semi 1 vs. Loser Semi 2 (Field 2), JV C1 Final: JV C1-1 Winner vs. JV C1-2 Winner (Field 3), JV C2 Final: JV C2-1 Winner vs. JV C2-2 Winner (Field 4), Girls Varsity — 10: Utah vs. Minnesota (Field 5; 4 p.m.: Varsity Final: Winner Semi 1 vs. Winner Semi 2 (Field 1); 5 p.m.: Trophy presentation (Field 1)