The BYU Cougars begin the 2012 post-season with a home match against the UCLA Bruins this Saturday at 1pm on South Field.
The Cougars come into Saturday's quarterfinal match-up with an undefeated 14-0 record and their second consecutive Western Conference Championship.
But with six straight appearances in the national title the Cougars realize that to make their seventh appearance in the collegiate championship will require first taking care of the resurgent Bruins at home.
"We've achieved two of our season's goals," said BYU captain Ryan Roundy, "But we know UCLA stands in the way of our third goal and that we have to make sure we're on our game this Saturday. They're a good team and have some phenomenal athletes and this is post-season rugby, so anything can happen."
Taking second in the Pacific Conference behind conference champion St. Mary's College UCLA is led by former Canadian international and current head coach Scott Stewart who has revived the once powerful Bruins rugby program.
After finishing out of the playoff in 2011 UCLA upset Central Washington University in Ellensburg, WA to garner their 2012 post-season berth.
With a 9-3 record that include losses to St. Mary's and to 2011 National Champion Cal-Berkeley twice, UCLA comes to Provo as the media's underdog, but Stewart knows what his team has to do to pull off the opening-round playoff upset.
"This is going to be our toughest test this year," the UCLA head coach said," And we expect BYU to be very fast and physical. We need big games from scrum half Grant Penney and No. 8 Stephen Yoshida."
BYU head coach David Smyth recognizes the challenge of playing a team that has everything to gain by garnering an opening round upset.
"UCLA is a great team," Smyth said, "They have obviously earned their right to the playoffs. We will have to be on our best to make sure we're able to advance. It should be a good game and we're very much looking forward to it."
Should the Cougars win on Saturday a semifinal match-up with the winner of the Mid-South Conference champion Life University and Eastern Conference runner-up Penn State match awaits.
A Life University victory over the Nittany Lions will afford the Running Eagles home field advantage for the May 12th semi-final, but a Life loss and a BYU victory over UCLA will have the Cougars hosting the semi-final in Provo.
Other D1-A quarterfinal action sees the University of Utah traveling to Moraga, CA to take on St. Mary's, while Eastern Conference champion Army hosts Mid-South runner-up Arkansas State. All games are set for this Saturday. For details on kick-off times and match reports go to www.d1arugby.com.
For more information and updates as the BYU Rugby team prepares for Saturday's quarterfinal match-up and for live scoring updates follow the Cougars on Facebook and Twitter.
Admission for Saturday's BYU vs. UCLA match are $10 for adults, $5 for students and admission is free for kids 12 and under. Tickets can be bought at the gate.
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