The Cal Poly men's rugby team has released its winter/spring schedule and it's a packed one.
The Mustangs have close to 80 players on their roster this season and will find games for all of them.
“It is our responsibility to find everyone of our guys one 80-minute game of rugby every Saturday," said Head Coach Dave Burnett. "We have enough for four full sides, so for the development of these players and the club, it’s all about game time. If you look around the world, 21-year-old amateur or professional rugby players in Australia, New Zealand, England, France, etc. are playing close to 25 full 80-minute matches a season. We’re playing catchup here in America. The more games the better.”
Cal Poly will warm up to the competitive season with home matches against Cal Maritime, UCSC, and the SLO Men’s Rugby Club. The team will also tour Arizona for matches against PAC sides Arizona State and Arizona on February 14 and 16, respectively.
The Mustangs 1st XV, currently ranked #10 by RUGBYMag will be looking to go one game better in the DI-A National Championship this season. Local rivals UC Davis, UCSB, and 2013 runners-up St Mary’s College (#6) will again compete against Poly in the D1A Californian conference.
Along with D1A matches every other weekend in the winter quarter, the Mustangs will play cross-divisional matches against Varsity Cup top guns UCLA (#8), Cal (#2), Dartmouth (#15), and BYU (#1).
Cal Poly has a strong rivalry with UCLA, but it’s been two years since the two teams have met on the 15s field.
“We feel our club has made some great strides in the past couple of seasons and we know UCLA has too, so we’re all really looking forward to having a shot at them this season,” said flanker John Joe Murphy.
Although last season’s match against Cal in Berkeley was a blowout, the last time the Mustangs played Cal at home, Cal Poly earned a 22-20 upset win.
March 8-9 won’t just be a big weekend with the Cal match on the Saturday. That evening the club will also be hosting the annual Parent’s & Alumni Dinner at the American Legion Hall in downtown San Luis Obispo. To round off the weekend on the Sunday, the Cal Poly boys will take the field again against Santa Clara in round 4 of the DI-A championship.
The busy season for the Mustangs will also carry through the spring break period with matches against Dartmouth and BYU.
Cal Poly will host Ivy League powerhouse Dartmouth in a mid-week match on Wednesday, March 19 as the Big Green travels through San Luis Obispo on their Californian Spring Break Tour. Cal Poly has established quite a rivalry with Dartmouth in 7s the past two years but has not played them in a 15s match in some time.
Following the match against Dartmouth, the Mustangs will embark on their own Spring Break Tour to Utah to take on 2013 Varsity Cup champions and #1-ranked BYU in Provo. “We know BYU is a top side and will be an immense challenge, but that’s what sport is all about," said Burnett. "We’ve organized these matches against Cal and BYU to test ourselves, and hopefully we’ll finish the season with matches against Arkansas State & Life in the DI-A postseason.”