Cal Poly Rugby has released their biggest winter and spring schedule in recent years. This packed schedule includes 14 – 1st and 2nd XV matches across three different conferences & divisions of college rugby, and 10 – 3rd XV matches including the inaugural Gold Coast Cup competition.
The Mustangs have close to 80 players on their roster this season, a great achievement for this standard club program. For Head Coach Dave Burnett and his staff, it’s all about game time this season. “It is our responsibility to find everyone of our guys one 80 minute game of rugby every Saturday. We have enough for four full sides, so for the development of these players and the club, it’s all about game time. If you look around the world, 21-year-old amateur or professional rugby players in Australia, New Zealand, England, France, etc. are playing close to 25 full 80 minute matches a season. We’re playing catch up here in America. The more games the better,” Burnett said.
Cal Poly will warm up to the competitive season with friendly home matches against Cal Maritime, UCSC, and the SLO Men’s Rugby Club. The team will also do an Arizona Tour for matches against PAC sides ASU and U of A on February 14th and 16th, respectively.
Cal Poly prop Mickey O’Crowley will again be charging against the Gaels this season. Photo Karen Drinkwater
The Mustangs 1st XV, currently ranked 10th in the nation (Rugbymag.com), will be looking to go one game better in the D1A National Championship this season. Local rivals UC Davis, UCSB, and 2013 runners-up St Mary’s College (#6) will again compete against Poly in the D1A Californian conference.
Along with D1A matches every other weekend in the winter quarter, the Mustangs will play cross-divisional matches against Varsity Cup top guns UCLA (#8), Cal (#2), Dartmouth (#15), and BYU (#1).
Cal Poly has a great rivalry with UCLA, but it’s been 2 years since the two teams have met on the 15s field. “We feel our club has made some great strides in the past couple of seasons and we know UCLA has too, so we’re all really looking forward to having a shot at them this season,” said Flanker John Joe Murphy.
Although last season’s match against Cal in Berkeley was a blow out, the last time the Mustangs played Cal at home, Cal Poly staged a 22-20 upset win for the ages. The men from San Luis Obispo will be looking to recreate some of that magic again this year.
Mustang Scrumhalf Thomas Leacox against Cal in San Luis Obispo in 2011. Cal Poly won that day 22-20. Photo Gary Tyerman
March 8th and 9th won’t just be a big weekend with the Cal match on the Saturday, that evening the club will also be hosting the annual Parent’s & Alumni Dinner at the American Legion Hall in downtown San Luis Obispo. To round off the weekend on the Sunday, the Cal Poly boys will take the field again against Santa Clara in round 4 of the D1A championship.
The busy season for the Mustangs will also carry through the spring break period with matches against Dartmouth and BYU.
Cal Poly will host Ivy League powerhouse Dartmouth in a mid-week match on Wednesday, March 19th as the Big Green travels through San Luis Obispo on their Californian Spring Break Tour. Cal Poly has established quite a rivalry with Dartmouth in Rugby 7s the past two years but has not played them in a 15s match in some time.
Cal Poly will play the Dartmouth Big Green at home under lights this March. Photo Leanna Long
Following the match against Dartmouth, the Mustangs will embark on their own Spring Break Tour to Utah to take on 2013 Varsity Cup champions and No.1 ranked BYU in Provo. Cal Poly has not faced BYU under Australian Head Coach David Burnett and he knows his boys will be all in for the challenge. “We know BYU is a top side and will be an immense challenge, but that’s what sport is all about. We’ve organized these matches against Cal & BYU to test ourselves, and hopefully we’ll finish the season with matches against Arkansas State & Life in the D1A post season.”
The D1A post season begins on April 19th with conference play in matches and continues with quarterfinals on April 26th, semifinals on May 3rd, and the Championship Final on May 17th.
Click here for the full schedule