BOULDER, Colo. – The Cal Golden Bears and the Brigham Young University Cougars are set to meet in the first-ever College Premier Division championship game at 7:05 p.m. MT (9:05 ET) on Saturday May 21 at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah.
The championship game kicks off at 9:05 p.m. ET and will be broadcast live on ESPN3.com and on tape delay on ESPNU Sunday May 22 at 10 a.m. ET.
Cal defeated Utah 62-14 and BYU beat Arkansas State 36-15 in the semifinals on Saturday at Infinity Park in Glendale, Colo. in the freezing-cold rain.
Cal’s forwards set the tone early against Utah on Saturday, pouring expertly into breakdowns and into backline support. They exerted their dominance early after piecing together clinical phase play to cross the line after only two minutes through hooker James Besser.
It looked like backs were going to be the linchpin for Utah’s attack as they answered back after 11 minutes of play off a stunning and intricate backline move that exposed a gap in Cal’s drifting defense.
However, Utah wouldn’t cross the line again until the 74th minute, by which time Cal had piled on more than 50 points.
The forwards did the grunt work for Cal and allowed their backs the luxury of picking apart a retreating and realigning defense. Cal’s centers, Sean Gallinger and Seamus Kelley, were running excellent lines all day and their flyhalf, James Bailes, was very composed and efficient with the boot and with ball in hand.
Utah had some bright spots in the match and fought tooth-and-nail trying to counter Cal’s strong-running backs and dynamic forwards.
In the other semifinal, BYU ended up relying on the accuracy of All-American scrumhalf Shaun Davies’ boot. If not for the 21 points Davies earned with his boot, it would have been a tie ball game.
BYU gave up a soft try in the 6th minute after one of the BYU forwards tried to stunt the ASU attack by kicking the ball out the back of the try zone, but ended up whiffing and sent a nice little grubber to Arkansas State fullback Danie Swanepoel who collected and scored.
After that, BYU was trailing behind the Red Wolves for most of the first half, a position they rarely find themselves in, but were able to get an 8-point lead to finish the first half.
BYU broke the game loose in the second half, but nothing came easy for the Cougars as they clawed their way to a comfortable lead in the final 20 minutes.
Having big game experience and a solid kicker gave BYU the ‘W’ at the end of the day. However, BYU received two yellow cards in the semifinal they may have exposed a chink in their armor, expressing their frustration in a way that could send one of their players to the bin. One thing is for sure: being a man down against Cal will make your life miserable for 10 minutes, if not more.
Tickets for the championship game can be purchased in advance online or at the door. To buy your tickets online, visit http://www.riotintostadium.com/events/0511-USA-Rugby.php. Advance purchase tickets start at $12 and day of game tickets start at $15.
Jarrod Beckstrom | Communications Manager | USA Rugby | firstname.lastname@example.org