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On Friday, the CU men’s rugby team will face Brigham Young for the second time this season in the national semifinals.
In February, the team’s victory over the Cougars had big implications for the team for the rest of the season.
“After we beat BYU in February, I think we knew we had a final four team,” head coach Sean Edris said. “I think we really expected that we really were going to be very competitive.”
Coach Edris said the key to the team’s success is fitness, as the players run frequently and some work out twice a day.
“There isn’t anybody that can match us,” Edris said. “We are a full contact team. We can play for 80 solid minutes at the same pace the whole game. There isn’t a Division I rugby team that can do that.”
On April 18, the Buffs beat Utah in the Sweet 16 by a score of 31-30 before going on to beat Penn State 58-55 in overtime the next day.
The team has been to the Sweet 16 several times before with no success. Coach Edris said that this year, though, the Buffs are a “bona fide final four team.”
“We’ve told the guys, ‘just to be there is not the goal, we’ve done that before,’” Edris said. “And losing in the Sweet 16 is not very fun.”
Senior captain Mark Lalli said the playoff run has been exciting.
“I mean considering last year we had a pretty terrible showing in the fall, doing pretty poorly in our division,” Lalli said. “But I think we rallied, and we knew we could be the best team in the west, and eventually just kept on trucking until the Big Four.”
However, he said the Buffs do not plan on taking it easy now that they have gotten this far.
“We are going into it to try to win the whole thing,” Lalli said.
If the team beats BYU, they will take on California Saturday. Coach Edris said the Buffs should do well against the rugby dynasty.
“I think we match up against Cal better than any other team in the country,” Edris said.
The Buffs will play BYU in California Friday. After their success against the Cougars earlier this season, the players said they expect to do well.
“We beat BYU once already,” senior captain Maximo DeAchaval said. “Why can’t we beat them again?”
Contact Campus Press Assistant Sports Editor Margot Schneider at firstname.lastname@example.org.