Utah Rugby League

Photo Credit: Utah Rugby League Association

The newly formed Utah Rugby League Association (URLA) is already making an impact on the expansion of rugby league in the western United States, and in just a very short space of time.

The league, established in April, joined the Pacific Coast Rugby League (PCRL) and initially was going to comprise two teams, however, before their season got underway, another two clubs were added to the competition.

“Utah Rugby League is really excited to be a part of PCRL,” said Utah’s George Tupou.

“We want to grow Rugby League here in Utah and throughout the United States, and we believe we can achieve that with being a part of PCRL.”

PCRL vice president Ben Calverley says the expansion of PCRL in Utah in such a short period has been extraordinary.

“To see four full men’s teams in Utah now competing for national honors as well as u18 boys and girls sides taking flight is amazing for the sport of rugby league in the USA,” says Calverley.

“Credit must go to all the people working tirelessly in the URLA to keep the momentum going, and a huge welcome to the newest teams Provo Broncos and Glendale Storm who joined just before the season started!

“The fact that PCRL has now grown to be the largest rugby league organization in North America in less than 12 months is incredible, we now have over 300 registered men’s, women’s, and youth players across three states, all playing under the banner of the national governing body of USARL and pushing for national selection.

“Since our first event back in December 2022, we have launched a now 8-team men’s conference, held the first ever club v club 13-a-side women’s game on the west coast, qualified the first ever female coach and referee in the US, Utah have launched their u18 junior program, and there’s a lot more in the pipeline.

“It’s been a great start so far, but there is a long way to go to get the game to where it should be, and it will take time.”

The URLA has also set up the Hopoate Cup which is the championship that the four Utah teams play for at the end of their season. It takes its name from the three Hopoate brothers, John, William and Albert, who have played in the NRL and English Super League.

The Hopoate Cup finals will be played this Saturday, August 5.

The team declared the winner of that series will then face off against the team that wins the PCRL’s California Conference on Saturday, August 12. The winner of that interstate match will then go on to play the winner of the USARL’s South Conference for the national championship on Saturday, August 26, in Florida.

The PCRL has also announced the formation of a new executive committee. It is part of a restructure to how the organization is run.

It will execute the running of the league and will report to but will not necessarily include members of the current board of directors.

For more information on the executive, you can go to https://www.pacificcoastrl.com/news/future-of-pcrl

Brian is a strong and effective communicator with more than 30 years’ experience in broadcast and electronic media. He has been writing for Rugby League Planet since 2012 and is frequently the first reporter to break news stories about the sport. He has been our North American correspondent reporting on news in the US, Canada and Jamaica covering everything from league standings to strategy analysis to breaking news on key trades to editorials and colourful features on athletes. He is now writing about rugby league on a broader scale to cover developments around the globe. An accomplished storyteller, Brian started his career in Australian radio, before moving to the United States. He is an experienced podcast host and producer and is also a successful TV commentator having done play-by-play and analysis for ESPN, FOX Sports and the Rugby League European Federation (RLEF) among others. Brian has his own YouTube channel @brianlowe5567 where he posts his interviews for Rugby League Planet. Be sure to check it out and subscribe.