Regional Championships Preview

D1A Rugby: Regional Championships Preview
Photo Credit: Alex Ho

It’s down to four teams. Two in the east and two in the west. One from each bracket will advance through to Santa Clara to compete for the national championship next weekend.

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Western Regional Championship: Cal vs. Saint Mary’s 3pm EDT

Two teams that have held the number one spot in the country, at some stage this Spring, Cal and Saint Mary’s will meet on Saturday afternoon in Moraga, CA. This will be their first meeting since March, a game in which Cal overcame a late deficit to secure the win and the number one spot in the country. Since their last meeting, neither team has missed a beat, both of them storming through the playoffs, with average margins of victory sitting at 92 for Cal and 57 for Saint Mary’s. Both teams have lightning fast backs and big bruising forwards up front. They are evenly matched throughout their rosters and it is hard to find an area where they out match the other. The playing surface will be grass, which may limit Cal’s ability to execute their traditional game plan with as much efficiency, but with the talent on the field and the coaching staff, it is unlikely to factor into the outcome too severely. The recipe for success, both teams will be subscribing to, is limit the mistakes. Both teams are clinical at pouncing on mistakes and converting them into points. It will be a close game with the final score likely to be within a 10 point margin. Points will be at a premium, but neither team will be expecting to keep the other off the scoreboard.

Eastern Regional Championship: Life vs. Lindenwood 5:30pm EDT

Lindenwood and Life are set to do battle for the third time this year on Saturday, and both teams are ready and looking forward to the battle. Life, last year’s national champion have been playing some quality rugby throughout the playoffs against some top level opposition. However, they have been showing a propensity for unforced errors that usually they have stamped out of their game. Last weekend those errors were a large part of why they trailed at halftime. Lindenwood will be hoping they can jump on those mistakes. The Lions have shown throughout the playoffs they are a class outfit. In the Round of 16 they punished Wisconsin and last weekend they battled out a hard fought win against a legitimate contender, in Arkansas State. However, they have never beaten Life in the traditional form of the game, and they will believe there is not better time to do it than this weekend. Expect a physical encounter with plenty of tension and heat between the two teams. They have a healthy respect for one another, but nothing will give either team greater satisfaction than beating the other on the way to play in the national championship.