One week after defeating Arizona State in the inaugural Rugby Bowl 2014 in Scottsdale and wrapping up the 2014 regular season, BYU rugby travels to Annapolis to begin its postseason campaign. The Cougars face off against Dartmouth College on Saturday in the Varsity Cup National Championship Eastern Super Regional.
“The Rugby Bowl was a good way for us to gauge where we are as a program going into the Varsity Cup,” BYU head coach David Smyth said. “I feel we could have played better at times and our boys have a lot of work to do this week in practice in order to get ready for a very good Dartmouth team.”
BYU last met Dartmouth in the 2009 postseason round of 16. The game, which was held in Marietta, Ga., ended in a 26-5 win for the Cougars, who opened up the scoring in the second half after leading by only seven points at halftime. The win was en route to BYU’s first ever national championship, in which the Cougars beat Cal, 25-22.
“We haven’t played Dartmouth in few years so we’re a little unfamiliar with how we’ll match up against them,” Smyth said. “Our boys will need to work hard to get ready for the challenges a team like Dartmouth brings.”
BYU captain Kyle Sumsion said he knows about the challenge that Dartmouth brings to his team and is looking forward to helping his team defend its national championship in the early rounds of this year’s Varsity Cup.
“Dartmouth is coming off a big win against Clemson and are really looking forward to continuing on in the Varsity Cup,” Sumsion said. “We’re excited for the challenge and can’t wait to get our Varsity Cup playoff run going hopefully with a win over Dartmouth.”
Dartmouth is coached by former Irish International Gavin Hickie and former USA National 7’s Team head coach Alex Magleby, a Utah native and Highland Rugby alum. Both coaches are familiar with BYU’s recent rugby success and look forward to the challenge of playing the defending national champions.
“We have a lot of work to do this week before we face BYU, but we are very excited to face the Varsity Cup champions in Annapolis next week,” Hickie said.
Other Varsity Cup National Championship Eastern Super Regional action will see the Naval Academy take on the University of Texas, which beat the University of Notre Dame in South Bend last week by the score of 55-33.
Should BYU beat Dartmouth in Annapolis on Saturday, the Cougars will return to South Field in Provo on April 26 to host the winner of the Navy vs. Texas quarterfinal.
“The atmosphere at South Field is unmatched and we are really trying to make sure we are able to host the semifinals there,” Sumsion said.
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Kickoff for the BYU vs. Dartmouth Varsity Cup quarterfinal is set for 1:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, April 19, inside of the Navy Marine Corps Memorial Stadium with the Navy vs. Texas match slated for 3:30. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 youth. Parking is $5 per vehicle.
The match will also be streamed live on the Patriot League Network.
Other Varsity Cup Super Regional action sees California traveling to take on UCLA, and the University of Utah meeting with 2013 Varsity Cup semifinalist Central Washington University on the Westwood campus of the Bruins.
Kelby Jones is a student at BYU studying public relations and currently writes for BYU Rugby.