Utah Warriors Make Four Selections In 2023 Collegiate Draft

Aug 18, 2023, 4:04 PM


Members of Rugby New York celebrate with the MLR Shield following their victory against the Seattle Seawolves during the Major League Rugby Championship at Red Bull Arena on June 25, 2022 in Harrison, New Jersey. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images for Rugby New York)

(Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images for Rugby New York)

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Warriors selected four players in the Major League Rugby’s 2023 collegiate draft on Thursday.

Utah traded its first-round pick to the NOLA Gold for salary cap considerations and a 3rd round pick in 2024.

Despite this, Utah still walked away with an excellent pool of young prospects.

The Warrior’s first pick came in the middle of the second round. They selected Trinity Western University’s Josh Halladay.

Halladay is from White Rock, British Columbia. He played as a Lock for one year with the Spartans before declaring for the MLR Draft.

Utah had back-to-back picks in the second round.

With the 20th pick, the Warriors selected Brigham Young University’s Michael Biagi.

Biagi attended Provo High School and is originally from Burlingame, California. He also spent time in Ukraine, Azerbaijan, and Mexico.

In early high school, he was also a member of the U16 Mexican National Basketball Team. Biagi is a flanker.

Utah’s third pick came just two picks later at 22. Rugby New York selected Central Washington’s Albert O’Shannesse with the 21st pick.

The Warriors doubled down on flankers, selecting University of Arizona’s Abe Turpen with the 22nd pick in the draft.

Turpen, born in Boise, Idaho, was a pure winner in high school. He was a three-sport athlete, competing in Rugby, Football, and Wrestling.

Turpen won three-straight state titles in Wrestling at Capital High School.

With their fourth and final pick, Utah drafted Fresno State’s Isaia Kruse.

Kruse’s brother, Mika, currently plays for the Warriors.

In high school, Kruse played for the USA’s U18 7s team in the 2018 Youth Olympics.

Last year, Kruse was nominated for the Rudy Scholz Award, which recognizes the best collegiate men’s rugby player.

Utah Warriors in 2023

Utah finished its 2023 schedule with a 10-6 record and 50 points. The Warriors ended up in fourth place in the MLR Western Conference standings and three points out from the final playoff spot in the West.

The Herriman-based club had a positive point differential of +24. The Warriors also finished with four more total tries than their opponents combined.

Also on July 18, the Warriors announced the hiring of Andy Chesnut as chief commercial officer and Wayne Tarawhiti as director of players & pathway.

Utah also plans to add two assistant coaches to Greg Cooper’s staff this offseason. The Warriors recently lost general manager Brandon Sparks and assistant coach Shaun Davies, who decided to “pursue other opportunities outside of rugby.”


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Chandler Holt is a co-host for the Jazz Notes podcast and a Digital Sports Producer for KSLSports.com, specializing in all things basketball and football. Follow Chandler on Twitter @ChandlerHoltKSL or on Threads @chandlerho1t.

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Utah Warriors Make Four Selections In 2023 Collegiate Draft