Round 21 Preview: Clocks spring forward, as does the competition towards playoff pictures

D1A Rugby: Round 21 Preview: Clocks spring forward, as does the competition towards playoff pictures
Photo Credit: J. Dalton Photography
  • Big Mid-South matchup with Life battling Davenport
  • Five crossover conference tests all West of the Rocky Mountains
  • Cal travels to Utah for 3rd match in 2 weeks
  • California clash in the Arizona desert as UC Davis travels to Grand Canyon

With few weeks left in the D1A regular season, we concentrate on the matchups taking place this week and weekend, that could have huge playoff implications in terms of appearances and seeding. Before we begin, there are plenty of Crossover tests happening between: Independent, East, PAC, California and Rocky Mountain conferences. Coinciding with a total of (3) top ranked head-to-head matches, will once again be host to a memorable week of premier collegiate rugby.

CROSSOVER

In our first test of the preview, will be #13 Army vs #6 Central Washington taking place on neutral territory in Vallejo, CA, tonight, Wednesday the 11th. This match will be For The Fans Game of the Week, with broadcasting and streaming information below. Central Washington has exploded upward within the rankings in the past couple months ever since their victory against Arizona. The Wildcats of Ellensburg, WA have been showcasing their potential all season long, and will have yet another tough match versus Army. The Black Knights are currently on a California state tour, having just played in the Cal Invitational in Berkeley, CA this past weekend, ultimately losing to the #1 Golden Bears. This upcoming clash will definitely be one with playoff implications, as both teams will likely be seeded within the tournament.

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In the second Wednesday Crossover matchup of the week, Santa Clara will travel across the Bay Area to visit #1 Cal in Berkeley, CA. Coming off their successful Invitational, the #1 team in the nation continue their dominance across the D1A landscape. While Cal has been the team to beat as of late, Santa Clara has been struggling this season with a total record of 2-5, aiming to finish their season strong against the Golden Bears, unless they pick up another match outside of their conference.

Beginning the Saturday matchups, will be a massive rematch battle of an earlier season’s clash between #3 Saint Mary’s and #9 BYU. The prior match was an absolutely stunning one, to say the least, as the Gaels battled back to beat the Cougars on a last minute maul into the tryzone, defeating BYU by just 1 point in Moraga, CA. Now the tables have turned for Saint Mary’s as they will have to travel to Provo, UT to play BYU at their home field, in front of their dedicated fanbase. The Cougars will undoubtedly still feel the sting of their earlier close defeat this week upcoming, but will possess the determination in evening the score. A top-10 matchup is always one to have on your radar as a collegiate rugby fan, but this one in particular will have you on the edge of your seat (or completely standing up) for the entire match.

In the next crossover matchup of the preview, will be a Southern California head-to-head as the PAC’s #15 UCLA travels to face California’s San Diego State. The Bruins of Los Angeles have had a tough schedule thus far this year, but recently rebounded this past weekend by shutting out Utah in Salt Lake City. San Diego State have been battling all season long to record their first win of the 2019/20 campaign, even though they had tied UC Santa Barbara earlier in the Spring.

In the final crossover test of the weekend, Utah State will come out of their Spring hibernation as they travel to Ellensburg, WA to battle the streaking, #6 Central Washington club. Utah State haven’t played a XVs regular season match since November of last year, but with fresh legs will be ready to challenge one of the toughest teams in the nation. Central Washington (as previewed) will be playing in their second match of the week, after Army tonight (3/11), and will be battling potential fatigue and bruises from their earlier match against the Black Knights. Utah State had a difficult Rocky Mountain conference season, but with lots of rest and preparation, they’ll be ready to throw the kitchen sink at the Wildcats.

Karen Drinkwater Photo – Saint Mary’s College RFC

MID-SOUTH

In the lone Mid-South matchup of the weekend will be a considerable one, as they always are, as #11 Davenport travel to Marietta, GA to challenge #2 Life. Davenport currently sits in the middle of the table within the conference, but as we all know is an incredibly tough conference to be a part of. Life sits as the second best ranked team in the nation due to their earlier loss versus Arkansas State, but have bounced back tremendously by beating both ranked Lindenwood and Texas A&M in back-to-back weekends. The Panthers of Davenport will be looking to pin their ears back and pounce on the opportunity in providing the Running Eagle’s second stun of the season. But before they can do so, they’ll have to battle the full 80 minutes in order to beat the two-time defending national champions, who know a thing or two about claiming victories.

PAC

In the lone PAC test of the weekend, #1 team in the nation Cal Berkeley will travel Eastbound to face-off against Utah this Saturday in Salt Lake City, UT. This will be the Golden Bears’ second match of the week, after playing Santa Clara tonight (3/11). Historically this has been a great rivalry to behold, but thus far the Utes have yet to find their footing this season in recording their first victory. Utah will look to bounce back from their defeat against UCLA last weekend, but will surely be an uphill climb as D1A’s best in Cal will be accepting the challenge.

CALIFORNIA

In the final matchup of the preview, along with being the lone test within the California conference, UC Davis will travel South to Phoenix, AZ in taking on their test against #18 Grand Canyon. The Lopes have proved themselves in being a consistent club within the top-20 with victories against tough opponents all year. Grand Canyon currently sit #2 within the conference, behind Saint Mary’s, and will be ready for their battle against Davis who sit middle of table standings. The Aggies and Lopes are both coming off victories, and whoever secures the upcoming win will have a nice back-to-back streak in finishing out their conference matches of the 2019/20 campaign.

DATEAWAYHOMELOCATION
Wednesday, March 11th#13 Armyvs#6 Central WashingtonVallejo, CA
Santa Claraat#1 CalBerkeley, CA
Saturday, March 14th#11 Davenportat#2 LifeMarietta, GA
#3 Saint Mary’sat#9 BYUProvo, UT
#1 CalatUtahSalt Lake City, UT
#15 UCLAatSan Diego StateSan Diego, CA
UC Davisat#18 Grand CanyonPhoenix, AZ
Utah Stateat#6 Central WashingtonEllensburg, WA