Cal (18-2) vs. BYU (17-1)
When: Sat. May 3rd at 1 PM PT
TV: NBC Sports Network
Game Updates: Twitter (@CalVarsityRugby)
The Golden Bears will go for their 27th Rugby Union titles (Bears also have 1 from Rugby 7s for winning the CRC last year) today when they take on the BYU Cougars, who are owners of 3 National Titles (2009, 2012, 2013). This is a rematch of last year's thrilling final that took place at BYU's own pitch in Provo. This year, the game will take place in a "neutral field" in Salt Lake City that will predominantly be pro-BYU.
You can read more from my (compilation of) preview here in the CGB weekly Olympic Sports roundup.
In short, BYU is bigger, older, and possibly better than the Bears. Coach Jack Clark is getting the Cal squad to embrace the underdog role. Bears suffered two losses late in the season after a rash of injuries. What was particularly unique about the losses were that the Bears were routed. Bears have since bounced back by dominating UCLA and Central Washington in route to the final.
BYU did their work by dominating Dartmouth and Navy to make it to the final. BYU may have the edge over the Bears in the middle, particularly during scrums, so the Bears would have to use their speed and skilled passing to overcome the Cougs.
Here is the full bracket for the 2014 Varsity Cup:
Golden Bears will seek revenge for the inaugural Varsity Cup last year when BYU broke the tie and won the game on a last second drop kick score. This should be a good match.