by Brett Anker
BYU will meet Arkansas State in the semifinals of the Penn Mutual Varsity Cup this weekend in Provo, Utah. The Cougars last met the Red Wolves in the 2012 Division One National Championship. The Cougars won a thrilling 49-42 match in their first of four consecutive national championships.
“The last time we played Arkansas State was in the national championship in 2012. They were a great opponent then and I can’t see them not being just as good. They have some good fundamentals and are a well coached team,” assistant coach Wayne Tarawhiti said of Arkansas State.
BYU improved to 21-0 after handily defeating Dartmouth last weekend. The Cougars have scored in droves all season. The forward pack is extremely experienced and the back line incredibly explosive.
“Our team has continued to work hard carrying the momentum from the regular season to the playoffs this year,” said BYU rugby head coach David Smyth of BYU’s performance this season. “We need to continue to stay disciplined all 80-minutes of the game and keep up our intensity. Arkansas State will play their best and will bring it on Saturday.”
Arkansas State has used this week to mend sore bodies and prepare for another week of tough travel. The Red Wolves logged a lot of miles traveling to Navy last weekend and will have another long trip to Utah for Saturday’s match.
“It is going to take a lot of preparation. Starting right now. Getting all the knocks and bruises is first things first and mentally preparing as we travel home,” Arkansas State coach Shaun Potgeiter said after the win over Navy.
The Red Wolves realize they may need to open it up this weekend. With a potent BYU attack playing in front of a home crowd, Potgeiter expects a high scoring match.
“I think it is going to be a try fest. We are going to expect to be scored on. It is BYU. They can attack as is. On our end we are pretty lethal on attack as well. I think it is going to be an exciting game,” Potgeiter said.
The match kicks off 1PM MST.