LAFAYETTE, Colo. – The 12-team field and opening round matchups for the 2016 D1A Playoffs have been set. D1A’s postseason begins with a four-game first round April 16 and will conclude May 7 with the D1A Final, part of the 2016 USA Rugby College 15s National Championships at Saint Mary’s College in Moraga, Calif.
Indiana, Life, Saint Mary’s, and Utah earned first round byes after claiming conference championships, and won’t feature in the April 16 opening round of D1A’s four-week playoff. Instead, Air Force, Lindenwood, LSU, and San Diego State will have the luxury of playing at home in the first round, while Arizona, Cal Poly, Davenport, and Wheeling Jesuit will be on the road.
Davenport, ranked seventh in the Canterbury D1A Top 20, is the highest-ranked team not to host a playoff game. The Panthers will meet a lower-ranked San Diego State side because it was agreed that a Mid-South team finishing third in the conference would not be permitted to host an opening round playoff game.
Arizona will make its first-ever D1A Playoff appearance on the road when it travels to Baton Rouge, La., to take on LSU. The Tigers are ranked just one spot behind the Wildcats at No. 14, but are awarded a home game as the conference champions of the Red River.
The 12-team race for the D1A National Championship doesn’t feature the top 12 teams ranked in the Canterbury D1A Top 20, as some teams have opted for invitational postseason events, or have put their time and resources into sevens for the spring semester.
“The pressures that programs face in competing in both 15s and 7s during the academic year are apparent”, said D1A Commissioner Kevin Battle. “Despite the obstacles, we are thrilled with the 12 teams that have earned a chance to play for a National Championship, and I’m looking forward to what should be eleven competitive playoffs games between exceptional programs.”
2016 D1A Playoffs
Round 1 – April 16 (match #)
Davenport @ San Diego State (1)
Arizona @ LSU (2)
Cal Poly @ Air Force (3)
Wheeling Jesuit @ Lindenwood (4)
Round 2 Quarterfinals – April 23
Winner Match #1 @ Life (5)
Winner Match #2 @ Utah (6)
Winner Match #3 @ Saint Mary’s (7)
Winner Match #4 @ Indiana (8)
Round 3 Semifinals – April 30 (higher seed hosts)
Winner Match #5 vs. Winner Match #8
Winner Match #6 vs. Winner Match #7
Round 4 – May 7
D1A National Championship Final at Saint Mary’s College