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Herriman-United 'Should Be A Classic'

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Herriman-United 'Should Be A Classic'

This is a Herriman-United game from 2016, which is the best we have of this matchup. Shelli Simmons photo.

Two teams that could be playing for a national championship will meet up this weekend in Utah.

Herriman, the defending national school-team champs and one of the favorites to win this year, will take on United, a team that has reemerged as a major power with an athletic and powerful team that has already beaten Snow Canyon (Te Mana), Salt Lake Valley, and West Valley, all highly-ranked teams, and all in pretty emphatic fashion.

So now they face off.

"With a game like this, you don't usually have to worry about emotion and the boys being ready to play," said Herriman Director of Rugby Jeff Wilson. "I think that both teams will be hyped for the game, so I don't worry about our effort and desire. I think the biggest key is just to focus on our level of execution and focus on ourselves and stay disciplined within our offensive and defensive systems and channel that energy in the correct direction.  Sometimes big games against good opponents can cause players to feel that they have to do something special and guys try to do too much and don't stay within themselves."

Wilson points to his team's national championship game last year against St. Ignatius, a game where Herriman did not execute well, he said, and put themselves in a hole.

"If you look at that possession that we had where we scored what proved to be the winning try, we settled down and were patient with our system and executed, and it paid off," said Wilson. "So I think patience is also key."

United Head Coach Colin Puriri looks at the game in much the same way.

"For us it's amount making improvements every game," Puriri told GRR. "We didn't do a good job against West Valley on controlling territory and we've got to do a better job exiting inside our 22 and putting the ball deeper inside the opponent's 22."

United still has to work on their team depth and this will be an interesting crucible for the reserves bench. 

"United is loaded with talent at every spot 1-15 and we're still missing some key guys," added Wilson. "They're going to score some points and they're going to get some stops, and they play good rugby. But if we dance with the one that brought us and trust in our systems and execute like we are capable of, it should be a good day.  I really like the lineup that we are running out, and I think we have some very good impact subs to bring in off the bench as well, including some boys who have gotten valuable starting experience in other games and will come in with a great mindset and raise the level of play."

Puriri wants to dance with that partner, too, but it's a more speed-based partner. 

"Hopefully we're on a wider field [than against West Valley] where our backs can be more effective," said Puriri. "Our defense has been stellar so hopefully that continues. It should be a classic."