Tempe, Ariz. – This weekend the Arizona State Sun Devils (2-3) will face the Arizona Wildcats (4-3) in a PAC Rugby conference matchup.
The Wildcats and Sun Devils are a combined 0-4 against PAC Conference opponents, but one team will walk away with the first victory as the game on Saturday will be the first conference meeting between the two.
Arizona might also be considered favorites this time around after beating Notre Dame, a team that went on to beat Arizona State.
“After our loss to Notre Dame in Spring Break we know we have to perform on Saturday,” said ASU Head Coach Gary Lane. “The Wildcats have had some good wins against quality competition and they are playing well at the moment, we have to remain focused and the players have to execute well for us to win.”
Arizona State has faced some tough opposition this season, clashing with still-undefeated Cal, top Canadian college the University of Victoria, and then University of Utah in the snow.
“No excuses we had opportunities to win both the University of Victoria game and the Utah game, but we made critical mistakes that cost us the games,” said Lane.
The loss to Utah, 36-11, was costly, dropping Arizona State to 0-2 in PAC Conference play.
So far this season, the Arizona Wildcats have toppled three top 25 opponents (Air Force, Notre Dame and San Diego State), sitting with a 4-3 record, with five games remaining on the schedule. They beat Notre Dame 17-5, and the Irish then moved on to beat the Sun Devils 22-12.
“Notre Dame played very hard and it’s exactly what we needed,” said Arizona Head Coach Dave Sitton said. “We still have much work to do, but we moved a lot of players around in the back line. We didn’t have our full compliment of backs ready to go today. We are hopeful that this match will provide us with the video and structure that need to move forward against the rest of our PAC Conference opponents.
“We are very aware that all the teams in the conference are ranked,” continued Sitton. “We anticipate a hard fought match, but it is that way every time because of the rivalry. It doesn’t make any difference if you play rugby, chess, or gridiron football, the Arizona-Arizona State experience is always exciting for everyone that takes part.”
The game will take place at ASU’s temporary facility on ASU’s polytechnic campus.
“Until the University can find the location for the $6.8MM new stadium facility we will play at the Poly campus.” Lane said. “It is a beautiful field and we are excited to play there.”
The new location was decided after the soccer stadium was closed for renovation for the rest of the season.
The teams kick off at 7pm Saturday night..