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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Rugby begins SoCal play with tough opposition

    As the Arizona men’s rugby team begins SoCal conference play this weekend, head coach Sitton hopes to end a streak or two of his own. Friday night his Wildcats take on a UC Santa Barbara squad that has run off four straight wins against Arizona. Then, in a Super Bowl Sunday match-up, they try to end a six-year drought against Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo.

    Arizona needs a good weekend if they are going to compete as the underdog. They may not be playing the New England Patriots, but Sitton readily admits the Wildcats are up against the class of their conference.

    UCSB and Cal Poly “”have been the BMW and the Mercedes of our conference and we’ve been lagging a little bit behind,”” he said.

    That means American football is going to be the last thing on Arizona’s mind as it heads onto the pitch to win at what senior and All-American Jordan Kohn called, “”Football without pads…. The other football…. The football it was based off of.””

    For the Wildcats Super Bowl weekend isn’t so much the end of the football season, but rather the beginning of the real football season – a brutal beginning.

    Sitton describes this weekend’s action as Arizona’s two hardest games in the conference.

    Cal Poly has won five of the last seven conference championships and Santa Barbara has also gone on to represent the conference in the national tournament for the last five years.

    “”It’s sudden death right now,”” Sitton said of the importance of the upcoming matches. “”We get the sweep obviously we’re in good shape. (If) We get the split we’re very much in it, but it would be best to get the sweep.””

    Knocking off Santa Barbara, Cal Poly, or both would go a long way towards jump-starting a proud program that has fallen out of national contention in recent years. After the SoCal conference was founded in 1997, Arizona won four of the first six conference championships. Arizona’s last conference title came in 2003 when it split the championship with, you guessed it, Santa Barbara and Cal Poly in a three way tie.

    “”We had a dominant run and we kind of got off the boat a little bit, but with our recruiting, with the people in our program right now, with our coaching, with the facilities we have now, there is no reason we shouldn’t be on a very strong national run for a while.””

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