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The CU men’s rugby club team is preparing to take on the Wyoming Cowboys this Saturday in the second round of the Western Playoffs.
The Buffs are 5-0, and they are currently ranked No. 8 nationally by Down Under Endeavors. They are heading up to Laramie, Wyo., to compete in what players say is a must-win game.
“This is a big game for us ’cause we can’t lose,” said All-American Maximo DeAchaval, a senior captain rugby player. “If we lose, we’re out of the playoffs. It’s going be a good game.”
Head coach Sean Edris said the key to beating the Cowboys is to keep the ball in the Buffs’ hands.
“We’re a smaller team typically,” Edris said. “We’re fit and very fast from position No. 1 all the way through 15. Wyoming has a lot of the ranch hands. They are significantly bigger than us, so the key is to keep the ball out of their hands and make them run with us.”
The Buffs are coming off a strong victory over Kansas State in the first round of the Western Playoffs, where the Buffs beat the Wildcats with a hefty score of 59-10.
“We wanted to come out in the first round and make a really big statement,” said Mark Lalli, a senior captain rugby player. “I think we did by beating them 59-10.”
Going into their next game, Edris said the team is spending a lot of time preparing in order to get into the best physical shape they can.
“Fitness is our focus right now,” Edris said. “In order for us to have a chance, we have to be in shape to beat the teams we play.”
The team will receive an extra boost from their first All-American in the last decade, DeAchaval. Some might think that the status would bring extra pressure, but DeAchaval said that is not the case for him.
“This brings me zero pressure at all,” DeAchaval said. “I’ve been playing this game for 13 years now. I started in Argentina, so I just love to play the game, and I don’t think about it when I’m playing.”
If the Buffs can beat the Cowboys this Saturday, they will continue onto the Western Championship finals, where they will have to take on two teams for the championship.
“We’ll have to face LSU and then probably Air Force in the final game.” Edris said. “The thing about playing Air Force is that we beat them before.”
Contact Campus Press Staff Writer Philip Fisher at Philip.Fisher@colorado.edu.