PROVO, Utah—One week after defeating Arizona State in the inaugural Rugby Bowl 2014 in Scottsdale and wrapping up the 2014 regular season, BYU rugby travels to Annapolis, Md. to begin its postseason campaign. The Cougars will face off against Dartmouth College Saturday in the Varsity Cup National Championship Eastern Super Regional.
"The Rugby Bowl was a good way for us to gauge where we are as a program going into the Varsity Cup," BYU head coach David Smyth said. "I feel we could have played better at times and our boys have a lot of work to do this week in practice in order to get ready for a very good Dartmouth team."
BYU last met Dartmouth in the 2009 postseason round of 16. The game, which was held in Marietta, Ga., ended in a 26-5 win for the Cougars, who opened up the scoring in the second half after leading by only seven points at halftime. The win was in route to BYU's first ever national championship, in which the Cougars beat Cal 25-22.
"We haven't played Dartmouth in few years so we're a little unfamiliar with how we'll match up against them," Smyth said. "Our boys will need to work hard to get ready for the challenges a team like Dartmouth brings."
BYU captain Kyle Sumsion knows about the challenge that Dartmouth brings to his team, and is looking forward to helping his team defend its national championship in the early rounds of this year's Varsity Cup.
"Dartmouth is coming off a big win against Clemson and are really looking forward to continuing on in the Varsity Cup," Sumsion said. "We're excited for the challenge and can't wait to get our Varsity Cup playoff run going hopefully with a win over Dartmouth."
Dartmouth is coached by former Irish International Gavin Hickie and former USA National 7's Team head coach Alex Magleby, a Utah native and Highland Rugby alum. Both coaches are familiar with BYU's recent rugby success, and look forward to the challenge of playing the defending national champions.
"We have a lot of work to do this week before we face BYU but we are very excited to face the Varsity Cup champions in Annapolis next week," Hickie said.
Other Varsity Cup National Championship Eastern Super Regional action will see the Naval Academy take on the University of Texas, who beat the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, IN last week by the score of 55-33.
Should BYU beat Dartmouth in Annapolis on Saturday, the Cougars will return to South Field in Provo on April 26 to host the winner of the Navy vs. Texas quarterfinal.
"The atmosphere at South Field is unmatched and we are really trying to make sure we are able to host the semifinals there," Sumsion said.
Kickoff for the BYU vs. Dartmouth Varsity Cup quarterfinal is set for 1.30pm ET Saturday, April 19th inside of the Navy Marine Corps Memorial Stadium with the Navy vs. Texas match slated for 3.30pm ET. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 youth. Parking is $5 per vehicle.
The match will also be streamed live on the Patriot League Network. For full details, including directions, event information and streaming details, go to www.NavySports.com.
Other Varsity Cup Super Regional action sees California traveling to take on UCLA and the University of Utah will meet 2013 Varsity Cup semifinalist Central Washington University on the Westwood campus of the Bruins. All matches in Varsity Cup National Championship Western Super Regional are also set for April 19th at 3pm and 1pm PT respectively.
The Cougars are hoping to reach their ninth straight national championship game and win their third straight national title. The Varsity Cup final will be held May 3 at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah and will be televised live on NBC Sports Network. For full event details, including match dates and venue details along with ticket information please visit www.VarsityCup.us.
About the Varsity Cup
The Varsity Cup is America's top collegiate postseason championship. The mission of the Varsity Cup is to grow American rugby by harnessing the collective strength of collegiate rugby and collegiate sport in general. The Varsity Cup features 12 of the most recognized and accomplished collegiate rugby programs in the country vying for the right to be named the Varsity Cup National Collegiate Champion.
The 12 Varsity Cup teams are the U.S. Air Force Academy, Brigham Young University, University of California, Clemson University, Central Washington University, Dartmouth College, U.S. Naval Academy, University of Notre Dame, University of Oklahoma, University of Texas, the University of California - Los Angeles and University of Utah. In the 33 years of the collegiate rugby championship play 31 of the collegiate national champions have come from one of the 12 Varsity Cup teams. In total, a Varsity Cup program has played for the collegiate title in every year of the championship's existence except for 1984.
The Varsity Cup programs also boast hundreds of Collegiate All Americans and scores of USA National Team members making the Varsity Cup a veritable proving ground of American rugby. With the country's best high-performance training facilities, state of the art match venues and strong coaching experience, the Varsity Cup programs set the standard for elite player development in America.
BYU won the 2013 Varsity Cup National Championship in dramatic fashion with a last-second drop goal to beat California 27-24 in front of a packed South Field Stadium.
Follow all of the 2014 Varsity Cup National Championship action on Twitter by following @Varsity_Cup.