Rocky Mountain Conference Championship Preview

D1A Rugby: Rocky Mountain Conference Championship Preview
Photo Credit: BYU Rugby
<p>On Saturday two of the most successful teams in collegiate rugby will face each other; as <a href=”http://d1arugby.com/team/byu/”>#6 BYU</a> hosts <a href=”http://d1arugby.com/team/colorado-state”>Colorado State</a> for the Rocky Mountain Conference Championship. The match will be played at BYU’s South Field. A live stream will be <a href=”https://youtu.be/-B1E2RPeSrU”>available here</a>.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>For both programs, it has been a year of change. For BYU they have joined a new conference, after being an independent last year; and they had to replace a <a href=”http://d1arugby.com/news/david-smyth-ends-tenure-with-byu/”>coaching staff</a> that had a quarter of a century’s worth of experience. Colorado State, after the <a href=”http://d1arugby.com/news/colorado-states-head-coach-rod-hartley-passes-away/”>tragic passing</a> of their coach, Rod Hartley were also left searching for a new coach. Despite the adversity that each team has faced to date, they have shown tremendous resiliency in their ability to make it to the Championship game this weekend. The crowning achievement for whichever team wins, will be the automatic qualification to the post season and not just the trophy.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“It is a great accomplishment for us,” stated BYU Head Coach Steve St. Pierre. “We set this goal at the beginning of the season and are grateful to have been able to make it this far. The Rocky Mountain Conference has a history of great teams and we are fortunate to be a part of that.” Their season’s goal has been one they have pursued relentlessly, and teams they’ve come up against have felt it. In the four conference games they’ve played this season BYU have won by an average margin of 91 points. In last week’s semifinal against Air Force, they were able to put themselves up by a score of 110-0. Things will be different this weekend.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Colorado State has seen this year as a pivotal year for them. Under a new head coach and with some of their key players graduating last year, to have made it this far has set a good benchmark for following years. “It means a lot to me because it’s my first year coaching CSU. It means a lot for the guys and sets the stage for the program moving forward,” explained Mose Timoteo, CSU’s head coach. On the year they have gone 6-1, and while they haven’t been as emphatic in their victories as BYU, they have shown a lot of determination and resiliency.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>In big games, such as this, the outcome seemingly is always decided by key moments. Each team will be looking within themselves for sources of inspirations during these pivotal periods. For BYU their captains act as constant sources of inspiration. St. Pierre explaining, “We always look to our captains, Zach Webber and Tosh Wilcox, to get the team in the right frame of mind on the field and to lead from the front. They are both exceptional players and great leaders.”</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Unfortunately for CSU, their captain and one of the best players in the conference, Joe Russert-Cuddy is out injured. Timoteo isn’t concerned though, as he knows the depth of his squad, “ I do have other players who can really step up in that role, players like Ben Prenter, who will captain the team on Saturday. To compete against BYU, the whole team collectively will have to bring that intensity.”</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Success this weekend for both teams will come from consistency and sticking to what they know. Both St. Pierre and Timoteo are expecting a tough challenge, but have faith in the systems they’ve put in place.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>“Colorado State is a well-coached, well drilled, disciplined team. We know they are a great team and it will take a great performance from us to be able to win the championship this Saturday.” Admitted St. Pierre before continuing on to say, “Sticking to the game plan and doing the basic things correct every time.”</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Timoteo mirrored St. Pierre’s response, “I expect them to come out firing. They are one of the best teams in the country. They will come out and play their game, we don’t expect anything less. We just have to play our game, be physical, starve BYU of possession, and play solid defense. We have to believe in our system, execute for 80 minutes, and just have fun.”</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>In this game two things are certain, big physical hits and plenty of points on the scoreboard. It should be an exciting game to watch, and whichever team wins this weekend will be a threat come the playoffs.</p>