The BYU Cougars are set to host the #2 ranked St. Mary's Gaels on South Field this Saturday at 12pm.
BYU was slated to host a pair of matches this week, but given a host of injuries and other challenges Utah Valley University had to back out of its Wednesday night tilt with the Cougars.
The change in plans leaves the BYU coaches and players time to focus on what should be one of the Cougars' biggest games of the regular season aside from the Wasatch Cup against Utah.
The Gaels, who come to South Field for the first time, are 9-1 on the season with a lone loss to the University of British Columbia. SMC currently sit atop the CPD Pacific Division with two recent blow out wins over UCLA (76-19) and Cal Poly (69-3).
"St. Mary's is the real deal," said BYU assistant coach Kimball Kjar, "They are a high tempo team that has athletes from one to fifteen. We'll have to really play well in all aspects of our game to keep them in check."
The Gaels feature a number of returning All-Americans in forwards Andy Cooke and Nick Wallace while Tim Maupin headlines the backline as a returning All-American selection from 2011.
St. Mary's head coach Tim O'Brien says his team comes to Provo looking to see how his team measures up.
"We want to play the absolute best teams in college rugby," O'Brien said, "We owe it to our players and to our alumni. We have a handful of seniors who played in the final four as freshman. So, I can’t think of a better final year of college ball for them than competing against the best college rugby has to offer."
BYU head coach David Smyth says he has a lot of respect for Coach O'Brien and his St. Mary's team.
"It should be a great game," Smyth said,"St Mary’s is an excellent team. I’m an admirer of the way they play good positive rugby. We’ll have to be at our very best, to keep up with them. It’s going to be a huge challenge but one that we’re really looking forward to."
BYU fans are urged to arrive early as the game is likely to sell out.
Kick off is set for 12pm MT this Saturday, March 17th.
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