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.
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.”
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.