Northern California has long been a hot bed for collegiate rugby, that’s why the D1A Rugby Semifinal and Championship Playoffs are coming to the Bay Area
As home to two of the most successful college programs in Saint Mary’s and Cal, the Bay Area again finds the postseason spotlight with the D1A Rugby semifinal and Championship game coming to town. The playoffs underway, the Gaels will be on the prowl for their second consecutive national title. However, standing in their way could be cross-town rival, Cal. The excitement bodes well for our Rugby NorCal followers.
USA Rugby and D1A Rugby announced Saint Mary’s Stadium will host the Championship Semifinal, and Stevens Stadium in Santa Clara will host the D1A Rugby Championship. The announcement affords SMC the possibility of reaching the semifinal and championship match all within a short distance of home.
With the quarterfinals being played this weekend, that fact is still to be determined.
Despite the lack of defined opponents, there are some tantalizing prospective match ups. In this weekends games, Saint Mary’s will host #9 Lindenwood followed by #5 Penn State traveling to Utah to take on #4 BYU.
Saint Mary’s and BYU will be firm favorites heading into these encounters. They are ranked #1 and #4 in the country respectively.
Lindenwood and Penn State however, both landed statement wins over Texas A&M and Arizona in the Round of 16 on their way to the quarterfinals and won’t be giving anything away easily.
Cal is on the opposite side of the bracket. As a result, Cal wouldn’t face Saint Mary’s until the Championship game in Santa Clara.
This is Cal’s first foray into the D1A playoffs after spending the last few seasons competing in the Varsity Cup.
Furthermore, with the Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018 being hosted in San Francisco this July, these events will be a great way for Bay Area Rugby fans to heighten the rugby buzz as the summer kicks off.