University of Utah Rugby has a deep tradition of excellence.
Legend has it that a number of former Ute football players put together an informal rugby team to play B.Y.U. sometime around 1970. At that time a try (or touchdown) was worth 3 points, lifting in the lineout was not permitted, and there were no substitutions. Should a player be tossed from a match, the team continued on short-handed. If a player were injured, that lad would be carried into the end zone where it was hoped he could recover and rejoin the game.
The Utes joined the Great Basin Rugby Football League, became known as the “Runnin’ Roothogs”, traveled to national tournaments, and were renown as one of the top party sides in the west, all while compiling a 28-74-1 record between 1972-1977, going 59-61-5 in the five years between 1977-1982, and finishing 68-29-5 between 1982-1987. The International Rugby Union changed it laws over this time period, first allowing two injury substitutions in a match and then unlimited injury substitutions.
Since the early 2000s Utah has become one of the most success clubs in the country developing players and competing at the highest level. In 2002 and 2005 Utah advanced to the National Championship, both years losing to Cal Berkeley. In 2010 Utah Rugby was able to beat Cal for the first ever 7s National Championship. Since 2000 Utah has advanced to the final four 10 times, developed 36 All-Americans and 11 USA Eagles.