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Cal Resting Many Starters for Friday BYU Matchup

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Cal Resting Many Starters for Friday BYU Matchup

David Barpal photo.

BYU hosts Cal today and it's a bit of an unexpected look for this matchup.

Originally expected to be a massive clash between highly-ranked college teams. It's less of that now because Cal has sent a different lineup to Provo.

“Seems there are always occasions when there’s a change of plans which require adjustments,” said Cal Head Coach Jack Clark. “Last week, we planned to be away and had to scramble to host. This week, we were supposed to travel Friday and play Saturday, then with a date change we have to travel Thursday to play Friday. The biggest change now is with the postseason seeding being released a week earlier than scheduled, the BYU match becomes disconnected to the postseason. This means we need to change our lineup to mirror the match’s importance while preparing for single-elimination postseason rugby. We will field an entirely different 15 than we started last weekend. This will be a Cal reserve team that has a chance to win. There are good players within this team. It will take a great deal of effort and resolve, but I wouldn’t count this team out. Either way, we will benefit from competing against BYU, and the players we have been riding the hardest will get a rest.”

According to CRAA's Paul Santinelli teams were told very early to wrap up competition before the end of March (and this Cal-BYU game was originally scheduled for April 1) so that teams would know the playoffs seedings and have enough time to plan travel. This is what he communicated to GRR just this week: On D1A Brackets, Parity, and the Algorithm

So Clark's characterization is somewhat disingenuous because there was certainly no policy set in stone that seedings would be released after this coming weekend. (Correction - we're going to reword this because Clark sent us some communication which indicated April 1 was the seeding release date.

Regardless, what Cal has decided to do is put out a less experienced lineup than they fielded against Saint Mary's. It's a little odd for Clark to blame the timing of the seeds, since Cal has at other times run out a reserve side (or something like it) in a game just before the playoffs—a smart way to keep depth strong and rest starters. 

Cal's Lineup

The new front row will feature junior prop duo Clayton Seastrand and Josh Mao with junior Matt Vranesh as the hooker. Junior Pat Deely and freshman Miles Malone will make up the second row, and the new back row will consist of sophomores Jon Puckett and Hugo Schreuder alongside junior Brett Dowgiewicz.

The halfback pairing of Caleb Tomasin and Nate Salter isn't exactly a letdown as both are experienced and capable. Junior Mack Fell will captain the team at inside center position with freshman Michál de Beer at outside center. Returning from injury and featuring on the wing will be junior Will Shankland, and senior Alex Brundage will be positioned on the opposite wing. Freshman Oliver Newall will round out the first XV as the Bears’ fullback.

BYU's Lineup

For BYU, the front row of Gabe Mahuinga, Lilo Clark, and Billy Tenney is no different from what we've normally seen. Kyle Klintworth and Jake Barker are at second row and the back row is Brook Vaitohi, Carter Beck, and captain Ben Austin at No. 8.

Try-scoring scrumhalf Strider Fountaine and Scholz Award nominee Wyatt Parry is the flyhalf. Cole Semu and John Campbell at the centers. Regular captain and Scholz Award nominee Tayson Hammer is not in the lineup but that's because he is injured. Connor Olvera and Tielu Sagala are the wings and Lyle Matthews is at fullback.

With the exception of Campbell in for Hammer, this is exactly the lineup BYU put out against Central Washington.  

Kickoff is 1:30PM ET. Admission is free of charge and the livestream is here>>