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A Classic Rivalry As Saint Mary's Hosts BYU

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A Classic Rivalry As Saint Mary's Hosts BYU

Saint Mary's and BYU are longtime rivals. David Barpal photo.

Longtime rivals Saint Mary’s and BYU meet up again this weekend in the first of an annual two-game series.

The game isn’t a conference game, but no one cares about that. This matchup is always a classic.

“This is such an important game for us,” said BYU Head Coach Steve St. Pierre. “It was an eye-opener for us last year and it’s just really important for us to play top-level teams like Saint Mary’s as we tune up for the playoffs.”

“This is definitely one of our toughest games,” added Saint Mary’s Head Coach Tim O’Brien. “Playing BYU at BYU, which we do later in the spring, is unquestionably one of our toughest games. Both games are a really good test for our guys.”

St. Pierre is looking for a lesson for his players on how to raise the level of their play. While the Cougars have played a decent amount of rugby, winning the Rocky Mountain conference and winning two games on tour in Texas, few of those games have been particularly testing. The unique Saint Mary’s style of always pushing the pace combined with unpredictability and physicality will be a different thing entirely.

For Saint Mary’s, they have been on the field a lot, but the lineup has been different each time. 

“We have put out the best available lineup,” said O’Brien of the changing rosters, making it plain that many players have not been available.

This might be a blessing in disguise, as some experienced players have had time to rest, and some younger players have received useful first-XV playing time.

Some of those injured players will be back in the lineup this weekend, but it’s still far from a settled Saint Mary’s team, and BYU is happy to be even more unsettling still.