BYU Readies for National Championship Tilt Against Powerhouse Cal at South Field

May 1, 2013 by  
Filed under Featured, News & PR

 

Provo, UT—The Varsity Cup National Collegiate Rugby Championship pitting defending national champion BYU against perennial champion Cal, takes place this Saturday, May 4th at 1pm at BYU’s South Field Stadium.

Saturday’s clash of national rugby powerhouses marks the 7th time in the last 8 years that the two teams will meet. This will be BYU’s 8th straight championship game appearance after winning the title last year 49-42 over Arkansas State at Rio Tinto Stadium in front of 10,000 fans.

California owns the recent post-season series between the two teams dating back to 2006 with a 6-1 record and the last meeting also at Rio Tinto Stadium in front of over 12,000 fans going in the favor of the Golden Bears in 2011 by the score 21-14.

The Cougars beat the Bears in 2009 by the score 25-22 at Stanford’s Steuber Rugby Stadium when BYU came from behind in dramatic fashion after an early 12-0 deficit.

BYU captain Ryan Roundy knows this Saturday’s clash will be one he and his teammates won’t soon forget.

“This is one of those days you really look forward to,” Roundy said, “To have Cal on your home pitch here at South Field and to be playing for a National Championship on top of that. It doesn’t get any bigger than that.”

California comes into Saturday’s title tilt on a tear having beat a strong Navy side 74-6 last Saturday in the Varsity Cup semifinals in Berkeley after beating Notre Dame 77-0 the week before in the quarterfinals.

The Golden Bears won the Pacific Athletic Conference title outright with a 5-0 record and currently hold a 21-0 overall record on the 2013 season.

With 26 National Championship trophies residing in Berkeley, BYU head coach David Smyth knows it will take more than home field advantage to beat Cal and take home his own program’s third title.

“Cal is Cal,” said Smyth, “great players focused on one thing and that’s beating you. No matter when or where you play them you can expect a strong and well-disciplined team that goes for all 80 minutes. They require your maximum focus and effort as a team if you’re to stand a chance at beating them.”

The Cougars meanwhile have recorded two solid victories in postseason play over UCLA (69-8) two weeks ago and Central Washington (53-20) in the Varsity Cup semifinals and hold an 11-2 overall record with the two losses coming to men’s Elite Cup teams Old Puget Sound and New York Athletic Club.

“We might not have won those games [against NYAC and OPSB],” Smyth recounted, “But they did what they were supposed to do and that was to help make us a better team.”

Despite the two losses to top men’s sides, BYU holds an undefeated record on South Field to collegiate opponents and hasn’t lost to a collegiate team in Provo since 2006.

“We love playing at South Field,” senior prop Ray Forrester said, “We have some of the best fans in the country. They expect to see wins at South Field and we hope to live up to that expectation on Saturday.”

Saturday’s championship game will be the first national title game played on South Field and will also be Cal’s first trip to Provo in nearly three decades where the Bears won 44-6 in Provo in 1983.

BYU and Cal will square off for the consensus national collegiate championship at 1pm MT on Saturday, May 4th. Tickets can be purchased in advance at www.BYUTickets.com. Fans are advised to purchase tickets early, as seating will be limited.

The Varsity Cup National Collegiate Rugby Championship will be broadcast live to a local, national and worldwide audience on KSL.com, DesNews.com and via the Varsity Cup’s YouTube Channel.

For more information on the BYU Rugby program as they lead up to Saturday’s epic clash with the Golden Bears of Cal follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

For more information on the Varsity Cup go to www.VarsityCup.US.

Comments

2 Responses to “BYU Readies for National Championship Tilt Against Powerhouse Cal at South Field”
  1. CougarRugbyFan says:

    Woohoo! Got my ticket for Saturday and one extra, in case I lose the first one (or invite someone). BYU’s in a good position to bring home two national championships in the same day, in rugby AND volleyball. Gonna be a good day :)

  2. Alma says:

    Super proud and excited for this years squad. Having watched a few of the games remotely it looks to be a good group of guys. That being said, Cal is a synchronized precision machine. They have never matched BYU in pound for pound strength or individual skill but in rugby you don’t need to if you play as a unit.

    When we have lost to Cal they have merely exposed and then taken advantage of our weaknesses, namely: turnovers resulting from line-outs, rucks, and unsupported runs.

    Past BYU line-out schemes that worked (and often dominated) were dependent on simplicity and speed with the movement primarily dependent on the jumper. Current complicated schemes don’t fool anyone except for those trying to execute them. Even when properly executed all the line-out defense has to do is sit back, enjoy the frenetic show and at worst prepare for a maul.

    Cal prides themselves at the ruck. They are able to pick and jam so quickly due to their emphasis on support that it is often 20 meters before a counter-ruck forces the ball to be relinquished to the backs. We need to contest immediately at every breakdown and make them work at every ruck. I loved seeing the counter-rucking against AR St. as they attempted set their line after an established ruck. Cal will not grant such an opportunity.

    Lastly, we can not afford our runners to get isolated. Except for the fullback, wing and winded props :) everyone should be willing to run right off the hip of a mate that has hit a gap or broken a defensive line.

    I applaud the coaching staff for including more and more adult club and Super league teams to expose these weaknesses that other university teams haven’t in the past. Too often it was the last game of the season when they became obvious.

    I will wish you no luck beyond the hope that the ball will bounce in our favor and that the officiating is fair. BYU has the strongest and most talented players in college rugby and if they play as a team and with their heads they will prevail.

    Go Cougars!!!!!!!

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