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Game of the Weekend? BYU at Saint Mary's

College Men

Game of the Weekend? BYU at Saint Mary's

Michael Geib photo.

After so much buildup, one of the biggest matchups of the college rugby season is here, with #3 Saint Mary’s facing off with #4 BYU.

Both teams have won major titles in recent years, and have developed a nice ongoing rivalry, as well. This year things are somewhat different in that Brigham Young is now looking toward the DIA postseason, not the Varsity Cup. The Gaels and the Cougars play each other twice this spring, and could well play one more time in the DIA playoffs.

For the Cougars, it’s been a good enough start, with convincing victories over Cal Poly and San Diego State. They followed that up with a 57-12 loss to a very strong Glendale Raptors men’s club last week. With an experienced and opportunistic back row, some superb finishers out wide, and a tough and big tight five, they are the full package, and Saint Mary’s captain Kevin O’Connor knows it.

“These are some of the best games to play because you know they’re just as serious about it as you are,” said the Gaels No. 8. “Only in these types of games can you see who you really are and who your teammates are. It’s a special game to play.”

Saint Mary’s has played many more games than BYU, having played and beaten Santa Monica, Southern California Griffins, Diablo (all men’s clubs), Arizona State, UCSB, Utah, Santa Clara, and Air Force. 

But BYU is of course a little different.

“Against BYU we know they’re going to try and take away our lineouts, and try to make us as uncomfortable as possible in set piece,” said O’Connor. “Last year they stole upto 80% of our lineouts. With a year of experience for our hookers, those guys are confident and we know that’s something we need to control.”

The Gaels captain also added that his team wants to be “an absolute menace” on defense, and for a full 80.

“When you play BYU you bring your A-game for all 80 minutes,” said O’Connor. “If we’re looking to be successful on Saturday it will have to be a full 80 minutes, no doubt.”

The game kicks off at 1pm PT and will be webcast live at this link.