21 June 2008

Highland Rugby

Tonga / New Zealand Tour

The young men who comprise the Highland Rugby club are presented this summer with a marvelous opportunity. For 33 years, we have been the premier High School rugby program in the United States. Our club currently has a membership of diverse young men representing 13 schools from around the Salt Lake Valley. Some of our successes include:

  • 17 National Titles in 23 years
  • A lifetime record of 370-9
  • 33 straight Utah titles (we have never lost an in-state game)
  • 3rd place finish in the World High School Championships, the only one of its kind ever held
In addition, a major motion picture, Forever Strong, to be released this fall, has been made about our program and the positive impact it has upon the lives of our players.

Our program has been fortunate enough to have four very special teams who we felt were worthy of competing at the highest level throughout the world, on an international stage. The team has toured New Zealand, Australia, and Africa with great success, the last of those tours coming in 1998. We feel that this year’s team is one of those special groups of young men who are both capable and deserving of competing at the pinnacle of their sport.

The opportunity we have before us is an intensive 20-day tour of Tonga and New Zealand. History has a tendency to repeat itself, and this undertaking is no exception. In 1979 we were the first American high school rugby team to play in New Zealand, and this year we have the opportunity to be the first American high school rugby team to compete in the Kingdom of Tonga. On this tour, we will be competing against high-level teams in both countries. Our 2nd game in Tonga will be against Liahona, the defending Tongan Champion. In New Zealand, widely considered to be the home of the best rugby in the world, we will be playing Church College, a perennial power in NZ rugby. In addition to four quality matches we will be exposed to a cultural experience most people our age can only dream of.

"More important than building championship teams is building championship boys" Larry Gelwix, Head Coach/Founder Highland Rugby

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