BOULDER, Colo. – Rugby and college sports fans everywhere are in for a treat on Saturday May 14, when the College Premier Division semifinals kickoff at Infinity Park in Glendale, Colo. Cal will take on Utah and BYU will play Arkansas State. Both games will be broadcast live on ESPN3.com and on same day tape delay on ESPNU.
Cal v. Utah kicks off at 8 p.m. ET and BYU v. Arkansas State gets underway at 10 p.m. ET. The ESPNU same-day tape delay of these games will begin at 10:30 p.m. and midnight ET, respectively. Tickets to the game can be purchased at http://www.glendalerugby.com/tickets-and-travel.
This past weekend in the CPD Quarterfinals, Cal hosted Life University and put the visiting side away by 33 points to advance to the semis. Thomas Rooke, the Bears’ openside flanker got a hat trick in the encounter and his flyhalf, James Bailes, put on a kicking clinic scoring 13 points with the boot. Rooke and Bailes combined for 28 points and Cal’s hard-charging outside center, Seamus Kelly, and replacement sophomore inside center, Jared Braun, had a try apiece to account for the balance of Cal’s points.
Fans can count on watching surgical precision and fast-paced rugby on Saturday when Cal plays a very resolute Utah side in Glendale.
Utah had a tall order on Sunday, traveling to West Point to play Army in front of an enthusiastic Army home crowd still hoarse from a fantastic win over Navy the week prior. However, Utah unleashed on the hosts late in the game, scoring 17 points in the final ten minutes to secure their postseason lives.
Ute lock Maika Hafoka ignited the scoring rampage and Sione Lauti and Thretton Palamo followed suit. Utah can be a devastating attacking power if they are firing on all cylinders and they had better be against a very strong and experienced Cal team on Saturday.
Utah’s only loss of the season was at the hands of fellow semifinalists and in-state rivals, BYU who put in a dominant display over Navy in the quarterfinal in Provo on Saturday.
BYU emerged from the regular season without having had a strong challenge, their closest game all season was an 18-point victory over Utah in the season opener. From that point on, like Cal, BYU has been steamrolling their way to the postseason. The postseason, thus far, has been very promising for the Cougars as they hosted Navy Saturday in the CPD Quarterfinals.
BYU’s fullback, Andrew Harrison, opened his team’s account and before 30 minutes had elapsed, the Cougars had 29 points on the board to Navy’s five. It was one-way traffic in the second half though and BYU racked up a whopping 64 points in the encounter with a final score of 64-12.
Apensia Malani, BYU’s mobile openside, must have decided that Saturday was his day to finally get some CPD points to his name and scored a hat trick against the Midshipmen. BYU will look to overcome their next obstacle in the postseason: the Arkansas State Red Wolves.
Arkansas State has overcome some strong competition at home in the form of Life University during the regular season and St. Mary’s in the CPD Quarterfinals. When they face BYU, it will be their strongest competition so far.
Aside from a try in the fourth minute, ASU wasn’t able to breach St. Mary’s tryline in the first half, but flyhalf Patrick Sullivan kept his team in the hunt with his boot.
St. Mary’s had two first half tries and at halftime it was a one-point ball game. Ten minutes into the second half though, Red Wolves powerful eight man Shaun Potgieter got his side going. Arkansas State largely held St. Mary’s off and gave themselves some breathing room late in the game.
St. Mary’s scored only one less try than ASU, a testament to how Sullivan’s ability to add the extras and nail penalty kicks buoyed his team. The clash with BYU this Saturday will be a great battle to watch, especially in the battle of the boot. BYU’s halfback, Shaun Davies, has been as precise as any kicker in the CPD and has had plenty of practice kicking conversions this season.
The winning teams from the semifinals will advance to the first ever College Premier Division National Championship. The Championship game will take place at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah on May 21. Kickoff is slated for 7:05 p.m. MT.
CPD Championship game coverage of the CPD Championship on ESPN3.com will start at 7 p.m. MT on May 21 from Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah. The game will air on ESPNU at 10 a.m. ET on Sunday May 22.
Jarrod Beckstrom | Communications Manager | USA Rugby | firstname.lastname@example.org