It’s all to play for in the D1-A Pacific Conference.
OK, maybe not all to play for – 1st place is wrapped by St. Mary’s, who are still on tour in Ireland.
But the other four teams have a huge weekend ahead of them as they decide who will finish 2nd, and therefore earn the right to a playoff spot.
At 0-1 Cal Poly is most certainly not out of it. The Mustangs face off with 0-2 UC Davis, who have a mathematical chance still, but need to play better.
Fresh off exams, Cal Poly is back in the saddle, a little stung by their 69-3 thumping at the hands of St. Mary’s.
“We have high expectations for the club this year and know every game counts if we want to make the playoffs,” said Mustangs flyhalf Matt Verga. “We’ve had a few guys coming back from injuries so these past few weeks have been full of a lot of hard work preparing ourselves UC Davis and the final two rounds.”
Coach David Burnett has announced a relatively unchanged side to the one that played St Mary’s almost a month ago. The only change is winger Cody Perez is back in the side after recovering from an ankle injury he sustained at training.
In the other match, Central Washington hosts UCLA. It’s still cold and rainy and rainy and cold in Washington, so the weather won’t feel all that welcoming to the Bruins of sunny SoCal. Central’s own welcoming committee won’t be so hospitable, either, as they, like Cal Poly, are shaking off the pain of a big loss (37-0) to St. Mary’s.
Central and UCLA match up differently, but it will make for an intriguing game as the Wildcats hope to spin the ball to the outside, and UCLA looks to work the phases. Bruins head coach Scott Stewart would love his players to exhibit the kind of grit he showed as a player in Canada. If the Bruins can do that, perhaps they frustrate Central into an upset.
The scenario is simple for all four teams concerned – lose and you’re probably (or in Davis’s case, definitely) not going to be in the playoffs.
Win, and the possibility exists.
Back in February RUGBYMag.com predicted that Cal Poly, UCLA and CWU would all end up 2-2. That could still happen, leaving little things like points difference on the table as a tiebreaker.
That message should stick with the teams involved – every point will matter.
UCLA (1-1) at Central Washington (1-1)
UC Davis (0-2) at Cal Poly (0-1)
Remaining games for these teams:
UC Davis at St. Mary’s
UCLA at Cal Poly
Cal Poly at Central Washington