BYU rugby travels to Phoenix on Saturday looking for a strong finish to the 2014 season. The Cougars regular season finale will be played on the road against Arizona State in the inaugural Rugby Bowl 2014.
“It’ll be good for us to get back out on the road as a team again,” BYU head coach David Smyth said. “We love playing at South Field and have had a lot of success at home this season, but it’s always good to experience that away game atmosphere.”
BYU is 14-1 on the season with its lone loss coming at the hands of Saint Mary’s on Feb. 15. Since then, the Cougars have rattled off eight straight wins, including last week’s victory over No. 9 Utah at South Field for the 2014 Wasatch Cup.
“Our boys did a really good job last week and hopefully we can continue to build on that momentum as we play Arizona State and then make our way into the Varsity Cup,” Smyth said.
Arizona State is currently ranked No. 16 in the country having finished fifth overall in the tough PAC rugby league.
ASU head coach Gary Lane said his team epitomizes what college sports are all about.
“I am very proud of this team,” Lane said. “They work exceptionally hard, they are the true college athletes, how they juggle school, work and the sport they love. They sacrifice so much to represent the school.”
BYU captain Kyle Sumsion, who will be playing in his second straight game for the Cougars after missing three games while traveling with the USA National Team, knows that while Cougars are excited to defend their national championship in the Varsity Cup, they can’t overlook Arizona State.
“We’re really looking forward to the Varsity Cup and doing our best to get back to the championship game,” Sumsion said. “But while we’re excited for that, we know we need to take care of business in the Rugby Bowl first.”
Following the game at Arizona State, BYU travels to Annapolis and the Naval Academy on April 19 to play the winner of No. 22 Dartmouth and No. 16 Clemson in the quarterfinals of the 2014 Varsity Cup National Championship. The Big Green and the Tigers face off on Saturday in the opening round of the 2014 Varsity Cup. Kick for that match is set for 12:30 p.m. ET.
Other opening round Varsity Cup action this Saturday sees No. 9 Utah travel to the Air Force Academy, No. 5 UCLA host the ARC champion Oklahoma Sooners and Texas travels to South Bend to take on the Irish of Notre Dame.
The winners of each of these games then move on to the quarterfinal rounds of the 2014 Varsity Cup to take on No. 8 Central Washington University, No. 1 University of California and No. 7 Naval Academy, respectively.
If the Cougars are able to win their April 19 quarterfinal matchup on the East Coast, they will host one of the Varsity Cup semifinal games on South Field on April 26 against either the Naval Academy, Texas or Notre Dame.
The Cougars are looking to reach their third straight collegiate national championship game and second straight Varsity Cup National Championship which will be held May 3 at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah and will be televised live on NBC Sports Network. For full event details, including match dates and venue details along with ticket information, visit Varsity Cup's website.
Saturday’s inaugural Fiat of Scottsdale Rugby Bowl begins at 1:10 p.m. MDT. For those who are in the area and plan on attending the game, tickets start at $12 and are on sale now. Information on the result of the match will be available online following the game.
Kelby Jones is a student at BYU studying public relations and currently writes for BYU Rugby.