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Varsity Cup Set To Kick Off

Varsity Cup Set To Kick Off

After months of conference play, tours, and tournaments, the first round of the Varsity Cup is finally upon us. All of the participating schools have been playing a tremendous amount of rugby, gearing up to be crowned the next Varsity Cup champions. With the first round of play commencing this weekend, here is a first look at the four opening round matchups.

Clemson V Dartmouth

Untitled-1Rugbymag’s 16th ranked Clemson Tigers travel to Hanover, New Hampshire to take on the Ivy champions and 22nd ranked Dartmouth. Dartmouth recently defeated Harvard 52-3 to take its fifth consecutive Ivy League Title.

Dartmouth’s recent wins over Penn and Harvard are bounce back games after a rocky tour. Traveling to the West Coast, the Big Green fell to fellow Varsity cup participants Cal, 99-7 and Cal Poly. With several players returning from other commitments, the side is much stronger coming into this weekend.

Returning, most notably, is USA Sevens player Madison Hughes. Hughes missed the west coast tour while participating in the HSBC World Series for the Eagles.

Hughes and senior leadership pace the Big Green. Kevin Clark is an explosive wing with the ability to break tackles, while scrumhalf John Descalzi quarterbacks a potent Dartmouth attack. Forwards Dylan Jones and Neil Greene really stepped up in a solid effort over Harvard.

After going undefeated in the Atlantic Coast Rugby League play, the tigers ultimately fell in the ACRC quarter-finals to a now suspended Penn State squad. Hoping to prepare itself for a rigorous competition, Clemson scheduled Life University, Davenport, Wheeling Jesuit University and DII final four James Madison as opponents this spring.

The first two games of the spring were rocky for the Tigers as they fell to Life University 45-24 and to Davenport 46-0. Clemson bounced back, however, winning its two most recent contests.

In its final two matchups before the Varsity Cup, Clemson defeated Wheeling Jesuit 42-14 and James Madison 33-20. The Tigers hope to carry the momentum into this weekend.

The winner will take on BYU in the quarter finals.

Texas V Notre Dame

Untitled-1The second matchup features Texas University traveling to South Bend to face Notre Dame University.

Notre Dame is coming off a series of losses. The Fighting Irish lost to Western Michigan 29-17 and followed it up with a loss to Arizona in the Parseghian Research Foundation game.

Nevertheless, Notre Dame possesses a very skilled and disciplined squad. Very Strong defensively, Notre Dame will certainly challenge Texas to get over the gain line.

Sporting a brand new complex, the game is sure to generate a large crowd.

Texas faces an uphill battle as one of the newcomers to the Varsity Cup. Although the Longhorns won the Southwestern conference title they have recently faced some stiff competition. Losing 38-0 to fellow Varsity Cup competitor Oklahoma, and tough losses to Wisconsin and Army have prepared the Longhorns for a battle with Notre Dame.

The Longhorns live and die by the mantra “dedication, commitment, discipline,” head coach Chris Hopps told United World Sports. Preparing for the game, Texas has taken a mental and physical approach with the emphasis on commitment.

Leading the charge for the Longhorns is freshman flyalf Carson Youman. He will need to make crisp passes and have good decision making skills if Texas is going to break down a disciplined Notre Dame defense.

Texas needs big games from senior tight head prop Danny Camara and Captain Peter Hyams in order to move on in the competition.

The winner will battle Navy in the quarterfinals

Oklahoma v UCLA

Untitled-1Oklahoma travels to UCLA to take on the 6th ranked Bruins. The Allied Collegiate Division 1A champs look to flex their muscles against a talented UCLA team.

Oklahoma is excited to be playing a program that they do not frequently get to play and a program that is of the quality of UCLA.

Coach Jason Horowitz indicated “this is an opportunity for us to align ourselves with the quality athletic brands in the country and challenge us to play some of the best programs in the country.

Oklahoma has one of the youngest squads in the country with only three seniors on its roster. Predominantly freshman and sophomores, the Sooners will be starting freshman, Facundo Gatica of Argentina at flyhalf.

Newcomer Jayce Crowder spearheads the Oklahoma pack while Captain Michael Al Jiboori solidifies the backs. These two have been the anchors of a consistently changing lineup due to experimentation and injury.

One could make an argument that based on 2013/2014 performances, UCLA should have been granted a first round bye. The Bruins finished second in the PAC rugby conference to a strong Cal side. The Bruins tested Cal but ended up falling 32-10 in conference action.

Seb Sharpe who excelled last year in UCLA’s upset win over Dartmouth at the CRC leads the Bruins.

This is the first ever meeting between the Bruins and the Sooner. Cal awaits the winner in the quarter-finals.

Utah V Air Force

Untitled-1The PAC third place finishers travel to Colorado to take on the Zoomies of Air Force.

Despite finishing third in the PAC rugby conference, Utah will be quite the challenge for the servicemen. Utah is well tested this season as they have faced Cal, UCLA and BYU this season.

Currently ranked ninth by Rugbymag, Utah recently played 3rd ranked in-state rival BYU for the Wasatch Cup. BYU ultimately proved to be too much for a tough Utes side prevailing 41-21.

Utah plays a very physical game, which Air Force is all too familiar with.

“We play Utah every year and it is usually a tight game, Air Force coach Joe Muehlbauer stated to United World Sports. “They played both Cal and BYU tough and will an extremely difficult challenge for us.”

Air Force comes into the weekend with a decisive win under their belt. Handily beating Colorado State, the Zoomies look to build upon the momentum of their recent league win.

Air Force is led by Number 8 and three-time All American Senior Jack Bristol.

“Big players step up in big games. Jack has been leading us all season and I expect nothing less this weekend.”

Bristol’s fellow Seniors flyhalf Joe Rippe and inside center Eric Schreck have been big parts of the Zoomies success this season and will need to put in big performances in order to beat the Utes.

The winner will advance to take on Central Washington University in the next round.

The next four weeks is sure to be filled with quality rugby. The two teams that are left standing will play for the Varsity Cup Championship on May 3rd at Rio Tinto Stadium in Salt Lake City, Utah.


Tickets for the May 3rd Championship Final are on sale now at varsitycup.us.

• Tier I: $30.00 – premium lower-level, mid-pitch seating. Limited availability; perfect for those fans who want to be at the center of the action.

• Tier II: $20.00 – quality mid-level seating located at the try lines – a great value for families.

Tier III: $10.00 – price friendly located in the upper-level and try zones.

 

Varsity Cup Creates Promotional & Broadcast Partnership with NBC & UWS

Varsity Cup Creates Promotional & Broadcast Partnership with NBC & UWS

New York, NY–On Thursday, June 20th, leaders in the sport of rugby hosted a rugby round-table at the world-renowned New York Athletic Club announcing the creation and telecast of the Varsity Cup Championship, college rugby’s post-season series and championship featuring the traditional 15 man game.

The Varsity Cup was formed in 2013 by a group of leading college and university rugby programs dedicated to growing rugby at the collegiate level, enriching the experience for its student-athletes and increasing the visibility of college rugby to a national audience.

In an effort to expand the series and increase its exposure, the group tapped United World Sports (UWS), owners and operators of premier events including the USA Sevens International Rugby Tournament in Las Vegas, which is part of the IRB World Seven Series, the Collegiate 7s Rugby Championship in Philadelphia and the Pro Soccer Challenge; and NBC Sports Network, part of the Olympic broadcasting network and global leader in producing and broadcasting world-class television programming.

UWS CEO John Prusmack said this groundbreaking partnership will help deliver rugby to the main stream sports fan.

“The goal is to take collegiate rugby out of the back water,” Prusmack said, “And put it on dry land and sunshine. And I think that this will result in what we’re calling the competition of champions.”

NBC Sports Director of Business Development Gary Quinn echoed Prusmack’s sentiments saying the Varsity Cup was clearly the elite competition that will aid NBC’s continued rugby expansion within the American television complex.

“We made a commitment to this sport four years ago,” Quinn said, “We’re so excited about the growth potential of the sport…[the Varsity Cup] is the best of the best on the collegiate side of the game and we’re even more bullish on the game after the last four years. Its time for this sport to be exposed more on the national level.”

The Varsity Cup is a championship rugby series featuring leading colleges and universities including but not limited to: Air Force, BYU, California, Central Washington, Dartmouth, Navy, Notre Dame and UCLA. The series will be hosted throughout the United States culminating in a championship match that will be broadcast live on NBC Sports Network on May 3, 2014.

About the Varsity Cup
The Varsity Cup is America’s top collegiate postseason championship. The mission of the Varsity Cup is to grow American rugby by harnessing the collective strength of collegiate rugby and collegiate sport in general. The Varsity Cup features eight of the most recognized and accomplished collegiate rugby programs in the country vying for the right to be named the Varsity Cup National Collegiate Champion.

The eight Varsity Cup teams are the U.S. Air Force Academy, Brigham Young University, the University of California, Dartmouth College, the U.S. Naval Academy, Notre Dame, the University of California, Los Angeles and Central Washington University. In the 33 years of the collegiate rugby championship play 31 of the collegiate national champions have come from one of the eight Varsity Cup teams. In total, a Varsity Cup program has played for the collegiate title in every year of the championship’s existence except for 1984.

The eight Varsity Cup programs also boast hundreds of Collegiate All Americans and scores of USA National Team members making the Varsity Cup a veritable proving ground of American rugby. With the country’s best high-performance training facilities, state of the art match venues and strong coaching experience, the eight Varsity Cup programs set the standard for elite player development in America.

BYU won the 2013 Varsity Cup National Championship in dramatic fashion with a last-second drop goal to beat California 27-24 in front of a packed South Field Stadium on May 4th.

For more information on United World Sports, please visit: www.unitedworldsports.com.

Varsity Cup Continues Growth, Adds Clemson to the Ranks

Varsity Cup Continues Growth, Adds Clemson to the Ranks

Provo, UT— The Varsity Cup announced today that Clemson University will join the Varsity Cup National Collegiate Rugby Championship beginning in the 2014 spring season.

Clemson completed the 2013 season finishing second in the Atlantic Coast Rugby League with a 10-2 record, behind 2013 Varsity Cup semifinalist the Naval Academy. The Tigers went deep into their respective post season reaching the national quarterfinals.

Clemson head coach Justin Hickey felt the Tigers’ inclusion in the Varsity Cup was sign of his program’s progress.

“Clemson is incredibly excited to join the Varsity Cup,” Hickey said, “The Varsity Cup has quickly become a premier competition, and it is an honor to receive the invitation and to be associated with programs of such rich history and tradition. With the vision of the Varsity Cup, its teams, and the direction of our program, the timing is right and we look forward to an excellent future for the competition.”

The Clemson Tigers are set to join the Varsity Cup having agreed to a participation commitment for the 2014 and 2015 post seasons. The decision to support Clemson’s entry into the Varsity Cup came with the unanimous backing of the Varsity Cup universities.

BYU rugby coach David Smyth commented, “Clemson is one of the top emerging rugby programs in the country and was a natural fit for the Varsity Cup’s expansion.”

“The Varsity Cup has identified Clemson as a top, consistently high performing rugby team from an NCAA university in the southeastern US,” Smyth continued, “The decision to extend an invitation to Clemson was arrived at through our due diligence in examining their team, and our belief that their program structure and coaching, along with their university support to be top notch. The Clemson Tigers will be a great addition to the Varsity Cup for the coming seasons.”

The addition of the Clemson Tigers brings the total number of Varsity Cup teams for the 2014 competition to 10 including 2013’s eight original teams and the recent addition of the University of Texas.

More news and information on the Varsity Cup and the participating teams can be found on Facebook and Twitter.

UCLA Reflects on 2013 Varsity Cup & Looks to Future

UCLA Reflects on 2013 Varsity Cup & Looks to Future

Los Angeles, CA–As the 2013 rugby calendar draws near to a close the UCLA Bruins and head coach Scott Stewart looked back on their involvement in the Varsity Cup as crucial to their goal of returning the Bruins to the upper-echelon of collegiate rugby in America.

It wasn’t long ago when UCLA was the marquee collegiate rugby program in the USA. The legendary UCLA head coach Dennis Storer who compiled a 362-46-2 record from 1966-1982 before becoming the USA Eagles first head coach helped build the Bruins’ rugby program into the envy of American rugby.

UCLA rugby head coach Scott Stewart, himself an a former professional and international level rugby player, says honoring the tradition of UCLA rugby and what Storer was able to accomplish, is motivation for him and his players.

“I think past success leads to future success,” Stewart said, “And those teams and Dennis’s programs are very important to the foundation of what we are doing today. Not just through alumni support but a legacy that motivates us to do our very best.”

Despite their first round loss to eventual Varsity Cup champion Brigham Young University the UCLA Bruins are pleased to see the success with which the Varsity Cup has captured the minds of American collegiate rugby and most importantly on the UCLA campus.

The Varsity Cup National Championship featured marquee collegiate rugby programs including UCLA, Cal, Central Washington, Air Force, Notre Dame, Navy, Dartmouth and BYU.

For the Bruins, the choice to compete in the Varsity Cup was an easy one.

“We truly enjoyed the opportunity to participate and host such elite programs of the caliber of Air Force, BYU and Central Washington on our campus in the Varsity Cup Super-Regional quarterfinals,” said Stewart, “Our administration feels the same way and looks forward to another opportunity to do the same in order to grow the Varsity Cup National Championship in the future.”

UCLA Captain Grant Penney echoed, “We believe in the Varsity Cup as the premier postseason championship this country has to offer and are committed to doing our part, through this competition, to grow collegiate rugby on our campus and others.”

On April 20th UCLA enjoyed a record crowd made up of fans of all four teams packing the Bruins’ North Athletic Field stands as they hosted the Varsity Cup Western Super-Regional which saw BYU, Air Force, Central Washington along with UCLA squaring off on the beautiful campus in Westwood, CA.

UCLA is now looking forward to next year’s Varsity Cup, fully believing that it is the best place to prove their ability as a team on a long term basis.

“The Varsity Cup will continue to grow and help the programs involved grow,” said team president Matt Frederickson. “UCLA has been extremely proud to play a part in cementing the Varsity Cup as the premier post-season competition in American Rugby.”

With the Bruins now fully entrenched in preparing for the Collegiate Rugby Championships to take place June 1-2 in Philadelphia Stewart says marquee events like the CRC 7’s, the Varsity Cup and the newly formed PAC Rugby Conference will be the key to the continued development and growth of his program and collegiate rugby at large.

“Playing in the CRC, the PAC Rugby Conference and the Varsity Cup are all steps in the process of returning UCLA Rugby back to the level that Dennis Storer once enjoyed,” Stewart said, “These types of competitions provide us with outstanding opportunities to enhance our relationships with our administrators, fan base, potential recruits and in the general community by way of positive collegiate sports competitions.”

The Bruins set out for Philadelphia and the CRC in two weeks knowing that the futures of UCLA rugby program and the Varsity Cup are bright.

For more information on the Collegiate Rugby Championship please visit www.USASevensCRC.com.

More information on the Varsity Cup can be found at www.VarsityCup.com or by visiting the Facebook page and following the championship on Twitter.

Late Heroics See BYU Win Varsity Cup National Championship

Late Heroics See BYU Win Varsity Cup National Championship

Provo, UT – California fought back to tie the Varsity Cup National Championship with six minutes remaining on a try by Seamus Kelly and conversion by Jake Anderson before BYU flyhalf Jonny Linehan kicked a 17-meter drop goal at the end of injury time to win the Varsity Cup National Championship, 27-24, for the Cougars Saturday at South Field Stadium.

“We were confident we could have a stretch of play where we could get ourselves back in this game,” said Kelly. “There’s no panic in us and we’re capable of putting up a large number of points in a short amount of time, but it just wasn’t enough.”

Kelly’s try to knot the contest at 24-24 in the 74th minute was the Bears’ third of the afternoon, following tries by freshman flyhalf Russell Webb in the 34th minute and flanker Jack O’Beirne’s in the 62nd, while Jake Anderson converted all three(3-for-3) and added a penalty kick (1-for-3) for the Bears.

For BYU, Linehan scored a try which he converted (1-for-1) and added four penalty kicks (4-for-5) before his game-winning drop goal (1-for-1) earned the freshman MVP honors with 22 points scored.

“I was fortunate enough to put it through the posts, but I wouldn’t want to have to do it again,” said Linehan of his final kick.

BYU captain Ryan Roundy said Linehan’s game-winner was an ideal finish to his BYU career.

“To have a team like Cal on our home field and to be playing for the Varsity Cup is something you just never thought would happen,” said BYU senior captain Ryan Roundy, “And then to win this game the way we did. It’s going to take a while for it to really set in. I couldn’t ask to go out on a better note.”

Not evident in the scoring column on Saturday but obvious to the capacity crowd and online audience was the kind of intensity that only BYU and Cal can provide in American collegiate rugby. The Cougars sought to stymie Cal’s resolve to play fast, meeting the Bears’ midfield early and playing with characteristic physicality.

Anderson and Linehan traded midfield misses on penalty attempts in the first five minutes before the Cougars flyhalf put BYU on the board, 7-0, when he secured a squirrely ball and scored, then converted his own try.

Kelly barreled toward the try zone two minutes later but was held up in goal, and winger Josh Tucker soon followed with one of several breaks he made inside the BYU 22, ending with a Cougars penalty on which Anderson capitalized, putting the Bears on the board at 7-3.

Three made penalty kicks by Linehan opened up a 16-3 BYU lead until Webb tapped quickly and scored after another BYU penalty, and Anderson slotted the conversion from near the left touchline to make it 16-10.

Having made second-half performances their hallmark in key matches this spring, the Bears came out confident after the break, and a charge-down blocked kick by Kelly that led to a Cal scrum inside the BYU 22 seemed promising.

Scrumhalf Nicklas Boyer crashed through trying to reach the line, as did Anderson, but BYU held firm. Soon after, Linehan’s fourth penalty kick made it 19-10 in favor of the Cougars.

BYU kept pressing the Bears’ backline, and late tackle of Webb by Kyle Sumsion resulted in a yellow card for the Cougars flanker. Two minutes later, O’Beirne’s try was converted to make it a two-point game at 19-17.

The Cougars mounted more pressure that resulted in another yellow card, this time against Cal’s Tucker for what referee Brian Zapp ruled was a deliberate knock-on. One minute after Sumsion’s return gave BYU a man advantage, BYU lock TJ Allred scored a try that made it a 24-17 match with under 10 minutes to play.

Playing with courage at less than full strength, the Bears evened the contest on Kelly’s try, taking an offload from sophomore replacement center Jesse Milne and scoring between the posts to give Anderson the best chance possible to tie it up, which he did.

Brigham Young threatened to score a try as the clock wound down but Cougars captain Ryan Roundy was held up in goal by Cal. The Bears kept defending but couldn’t reach Linehan as he set up behind the breakdown as time expired, and his drop goal was immediately followed by the final whistle.

“At the end of the day we weren’t as accurate as we needed to be. Had we been, I think we could have put in a better performance,” said Cal head coach Jack Clark. “This said, I thought BYU was very good today and very deserving of the victory.

BYU head coach David Smyth was similarly complimentary of the Cougars’ noted rival.

“I knew this game was going to come down to the wire,” said BYU head coach David Smyth, “Cal is a great team. You don’t win as many championships as they [Cal] have and not have the ability to battle like they did. Both teams had their moments. But fortunately for us, we had just one more than they did.”

With the conclusion to the Varsity Cup National Championship Smyth said the caliber of today’s match testifies to the growth of collegiate rugby and the ability for college rugby to help grow the game at large in the USA.

“The crowd, the broadcast and the events surrounding today’s Varsity Cup National Championship shows we’re moving this sport in the right direction,” Smyth said, “If today’s game is an example of things to come for the Varsity Cup, then I’m excited to see where it and collegiate rugby can go.”

Saturday’s battle was the third championship meeting between Cal and BYU to be decided by only three points. The Bears took the 2006 title, 29-26, and the Cougars won the 2009 final, 25-22.

A replay of the 2013 Varsity Cup National Championship will be available at YouTube.com/VarsityCupRugby, where fans can re-live the excitement that only comes from the meeting of the best.

The Scoring Summary:
11:00 Jonny Linehan 5, 2
17:00 CAL: Jake Anderson 3
18:00 Jonny Linehan 3
22:00 Jonny Linehan 3
26:00 Jonny Linehan 3
34:00 CAL: Russell Webb 5, Jake Anderson 2
Halftime Score: BYU 16 California 10
57:00 Jonny Linehan 3
62:00 CAL: Jack O’Beirne 5, Jake Anderson 2
71:00 TJ Allred 5
74:00 CAL: Seamus Kelly 5, Jake Anderson 2
80:00 Jonny Linehan 3 (drop goal)
Final Score: BYU 27, California 24

BYU
15. Will Taylor, 14. Chris Wernli (Andrew Carver @ 78:00), 13. Paul Lasike, 12. Seki Kofe, 11. Jordan Lowry, 10. Jonny Linehan, 9. Luke Mocke, 1. David Collins, 2. Scott Gowdy, 3. Ray Forrester, 4. TJ Allred, 5. Braden Bair (Dan Hubert @ 70:00), 6. Kody Thompson, 7. Kyle Sumsion, 8. Ryan Roundy ©

CALIFORNIA
15. Anderson, 14. Tucker, 13. Kelly ©, 12. Braun (Milne @ 67:00), 11. Battaglia (Adolphus @ 76:00), 10. Webb, 9. Boyer, 1. Mohr, 2. Hyjer, 3. Hurrell, 4. Barrett, 5. Daly, 6. O’Beirne (Hendrickson @ 77:00), 7. Gletzer, 8. De Nysschen (Bush @ 70:00)

WATCH THE VARSITY CUP NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP LIVE!

WATCH THE VARSITY CUP NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP LIVE!

Provo, UT—After a one year respite one of collegiate sport’s greatest rivalries will be renewed on the campus of Brigham Young University where perennial national champion the University of California will look to upend the defending national champion BYU Cougars at their home venue of South Field Stadium in the Varsity Cup National Collegiate Rugby Championship this Saturday, May 4th at 1pm MT.

In the last eight years the Golden Bears and Cougars have met for the national championship seven times—a streak of collegiate sport dominance unrivaled by other varsity sports.

WATCH THIS CLASH OF CHAMPIONS LIVE HERE ON VARSITYCUP.US!
Kick-off: Saturday, May 4th @ 1pm MT

2013 Varsity Cup National Championship: Players’ Perspectives

2013 Varsity Cup National Championship: Players’ Perspectives

Provo, UT—After a one year respite one of collegiate sport’s greatest rivalries will be renewed on the campus of Brigham Young University where perennial national champion the University of California will look to upend the defending national champion BYU Cougars at their home venue of South Field Stadium in the Varsity Cup National Collegiate Rugby Championship this Saturday, May 4th at 1pm MT.

In the last eight years the Golden Bears and Cougars have met for the national championship seven times—a streak of collegiate sport dominance unrivaled by other varsity sports.

With the consensus national championship match looming large players from both teams shared their thoughts on what fans of both schools know will be an epic showdown on South Field.

CALIFORNIA

Seamus Kelly, Sr. Outside Center and Team Captain

“I remember playing BYU in their backyard in 2011 and it was a major challenge. I can only imagine playing on their home field in Provo. It’s something that we’re going to have to address. Home field advantage is just that, an advantage.”

“It’s an indescribable feeling [to play for Varsity Cup National Championship]. If you’re going to put this much time into sport, you want to compete at the highest level, and there’s no higher level than a national championship. The highest stakes, the most intensity, and the reward from the challenge is unlike anything else.”

“It’s been an extremely exciting season. Because of the PAC Rugby Conference, the ‘Cup’ with UBC and now the Varsity Cup, we as a team and as a sport have gotten some high-level exposure. The skill and commitment that it’s taken to compete at this level, guys have stepped up to the challenge.”

“It’s [Cal vs. BYU] the marquee matchup in collegiate rugby. With Cal playing BYU in the national championship, it seems like all is right in the world. When we talk about what it means to put on the Cal jersey, the guys who’ve come before us and the success they’ve had, it just feels right having to go through BYU to be a part of that legacy.”

Danny Barrett, Sr. Forward

“It will be a home-field advantage and that’s part of the challenge. When it comes to testing your potential, it’s going to be an environment that does that.”

“It’s pretty cool to have paved the road for PAC Rugby. To have a team like this, a young team, to win the PAC, to win the ‘Cup’ with UBC, to go to the national championship, it’s a real tribute to where we’ve been and where we want to take Cal rugby in the future.”

“It’s something you’re always going to remember and something you’ll always share with your teammates. In 20, 30, 40, 50 years, you’re going to go back and remember the game like it was yesterday, the tackles, the scores and the guys who were out there with you. It’s a precious memory that you’ll never forget. For us, as coach says, it’s constant performance improvement, and it’s the same for BYU. Neither team thinks they’re going win just by putting on the jersey. It’s something you work for. They’re working just as hard as we are. It’s going to be a great one.”

“It’s going to be all out for every second. Growing up with two older brothers who also played for Cal successfully against BYU in national championships, it’s something I relish being a part of.”

Jake Anderson, Jr. Fullback

“It’ll definitely be an intense environment. We expect a lot of noise and it will be a great challenge.”

“It’s a great honor to be part of a squad that gets to play in the Varsity Cup National Championship. So many players that have done it before, that’s the reason that it’s such a big deal, to honor that jersey and represent our University. Seeing how hard guys worked to get it done, we want to look back and evaluate ourselves the same way.”

“There have been a lot of different goals this season: the PAC Rugby Conference, the return to Witter Rugby Field, the ‘World Cup’ series and now the Varsity Cup. BYU is a big measuring telltale and we accept the challenge.”

“I’ve never played against BYU but I’m one of the more experienced players on the squad, so I’ll have to bring the experience that I have. It’s going to have to be our best game to get it done.”

BRIGHAM YOUNG

Ryan Roundy, Sr. No. 8 and Team Captain

“Ever since I came to BYU I’ve always been thrilled to play in the Cal vs. BYU game. Now to get them on our home field and to be playing for a national championship makes all the time and effort worth it.”

“Our program has grown a lot over the time that I’ve been here, but we are always going to be measured by how we did when we played Cal.”

“We’ve had a great season so far but a big part of the legacy we’ll leave will be measured on this weekend’s performance.”

“We [Cal & BYU] both want to come out national champions, but there can only be one team after all is said and done that wins the Varsity Cup. It’s going to be an intense game from start to finish and I expect nothing but a battle by both teams. We’re very much looking forward to the challenge.”

Ray Forrester, Sr. Prop

“We love playing on South Field. Our fans are some of the best rugby fans in the country. It will be a privilege to step on South Field one last time in the Varsity Cup National Championship.”

“I have a lot of great memories here and I know Saturday’s match against Cal here on South Field will produce another great memory no matter the outcome.”

“[Cal is] a great program with a long tradition and we know they’re not going to take coming into Provo lightly. They’re going to accept the challenge we’ll lay out to them.”

“It’s going to be a battle. One for the ages. One that will have a big impact on not only both universities’ rugby tradition’s, but also the future of collegiate rugby. It doesn’t get any more exciting.”

Seki Kofe, Jr. Center

“I’ve played with a lot of the Cal guys on All American teams and they’re good players and good guys too. We have a lot of respect for them obviously since we’ve played almost every year since I’ve been here.”

“We have an opportunity to do something unique by playing for the Varsity Cup National Championship on our home field. This will be the first time that’s been done before.”

“And to be able to play against a team with Cal’s tradition and of their caliber makes it even more exciting to be a part of. This will be a game that I’m sure I will look back for the rest of my life. I’m really looking forward to it.”

TICKET & BROADCAST INFORMATION

Tickets to the Varsity Cup National Collegiate Rugby Championship can be bought in advance by visiting www.BYUTickets.com. Fans are advised to purchase them today due to limited seating.

The Varsity Cup National Championship match between BYU and Cal will  be broadcast live on the Varsity Cup’s YouTube Channel.

Kick-off is set for Saturday, May 4th at 1pm MT.

For more information on the Varsity Cup go to www.VarsityCup.US or follow it on Facebook and Twitter.

BYU & Cal Renew One of Collegiate Sport’s Greatest Rivalries Saturday at 1pm on South Field

BYU & Cal Renew One of Collegiate Sport’s Greatest Rivalries Saturday at 1pm on South Field

BERKELEY – Renewing one of collegiate sport’s greatest rivalries California faces Brigham Young in the Varsity Cup National Championship final Saturday, May 4, at 1 p.m. MT on South Field in Provo, Utah, the home stadium of the Cougars. Advance tickets are available at BYUtickets.com with a live webcast of the championship at YouTube.com/VarsityCupRugby (12 p.m. PT).

In their histories, the Golden Bears (21-0, 5-0 PAC) and Cougars (11-2) have met 10 times, nine of those in the postseason. The only regular-season matchup was in 2001, a 33-22 win for Cal on Witter Rugby Field.

In 1981, Cal beat the Cougars, 6-3, in the Pacific Coast Championships final, with the winning points coming on a 55-meter penalty kick from Mick Luckhurst in the second half, and the Bears repeated the feat in 1983 with a 44-6 win over BYU on campus in Provo. Both of those matches sent the Bears to the national final four, where Cal won national championships on both occasions, edging Harvard 6-3 in overtime at the ’81 final in Dayton, Ohio, for their second title and beating Air Force 13-3 at the ’83 national collegiate championship in Athens, Ga., for their fourth. Cal defeated BYU again the following year, winning 15-10 in the first round of the Pacific Coast Championships before losing to eventual Pacific Coast champion Long Beach State.

After the Cougars fell to Cal Poly in the 2004 national quarterfinals, Cal went on to beat the Mustangs for national championship number 20. Brigham Young lost to Utah in the 2005 national semis and saw Cal claim the national title over the Utes, 44-7, for national title number 21. The Cougars were defeated by the Bears in the 2006 (29-26), ’07 (37-7) and ’08 (59-7) national collegiate championships before BYU got over the hump against the Bears with a three-point win in the 2009 title match, but Cal reclaimed the national collegiate crown with wins over BYU in 2010 (19-7, with the 2006-10 finals all hosted by Stanford) and ’11 (21-14) in Salt Lake City.

This year, the final takes place on BYU’s home pitch since 2009, South Field Stadium, where the Cougars have never lost a match against collegiate competition.

Cal advanced to this year’s consensus national collegiate championship with a 74-6 win over Navy in the semifinal April 27 on Witter Rugby Field, which followed the Bears’ 77-0 victory against Notre Dame at the Eastern Super Regional in Annapolis, Md.

Undefeated against collegiate competition in 2013 with their only losses coming against Elite Cup senior men’s teams New York Athletic Club and Old Puget Bay Sound, BYU rolled into the final with a 53-20 win over Central Washington in the semifinal April 27 in Provo, preceded by the Cougars’ 69-8 victory against Pac Rugby’s UCLA in the Western Super Regional in Los Angeles.

The Cougars are stocked with 2012 All-Americans in prop Ray Forrester, lock T.J. Allred and No. 8 Ryan Roundy, the BYU captain, in the forwards; and centers Seki Kofe and BYU footballer Paul Lasike in the backs. Cal counters with three All-Americans of its own in the forwards – Danny Barrett, Brendan Daly and Alec Gletzer – and another in captain Seamus Kelly at outside center.

The Bears’ level of experience dips on either side of Kelly, starting with sophomore Nicklas Boyer at scrumhalf. It remains unclear whom the Bears will have at flyhalf with injuries having forced three different starting players over the past three matches at that position. Another underclassmen might be found at No. 12 in sophomore Jesse Milne since Jared Braun could also still be on the mend. Sophomore Andrew Battaglia on the wing is relatively experienced by comparison, but still a second-year player. Senior winger Josh Tucker and junior fullback Jake Anderson provide the most experience in the blue and gold’s deep three.

Kelly and Barrett both played all 80 minutes and prop Tanner Mohr saw 10 minutes of action in Cal’s last meeting with BYU at Rio Tinto Stadium for the 2011 national collegiate championship. Nobody else in the Bears’ lineup has ever faced the Cougars. Meanwhile, for BYU, five players – Forrester, Roundy, Kofe, front rower Ishmael Tilialo and halfback Inoke Funaki – will take the field on Saturday with memories of having played in the 2011 title match against the Bears.

The history between these two teams in national championship meetings has left the rugby fan wanting for nothing. The matches have featured stunning offense, punishing defense and dramatic endings. Three of their six championship title meetings have been decided by a converted try or less, and two of those were by only three points.

Cal vs. BYU has come to epitomize the best of American college rugby. On Saturday, the Bears will attempt to win their 27th all-time national championship while BYU will seek its first back-to-back championship.

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