Arizona – Collegiate Rugby Championship

Arizona

Arizona
Founded in 1885, the University of Arizona was the first in the state and is one of the pre-eminent institutions of the southwestern United States. As a Research I university located in Tucson, Arizona has continued to grow and excel in the classroom and on the athletic fields that its teams compete on. Founded in the fall of 1969, the University of Arizona Rugby program has been one of the more productive in the United States in both Fifteens and Sevens, and has produced numerous All-Americans and US Eagles in both forms of the game. Instrumental in this success is the legacy left by the late William David Sitton, whose leadership as Head Coach for over 30 years helped lay the foundation for the Wildcats’ current success and has led to his selection for enshrinement in the US Rugby Hall of Fame this year. As a current member of the PAC conference and a D1A independent, Arizona has the best of both worlds in competing against its traditional PAC-12 peers while also striving for a national championship. Arizona alumni Brett Thompson, Peter Tiberio, and Ryan Matyas currently feature in the USA player pool, with this year’s Wildcats hoping to follow in the footsteps of these great players. Arizona has been one of the most successful teams in the CRC’s history, reaching the final four three times, including the final in 2012. Last year’s team continued to uphold that legacy, making a run to the Cup Semifinals and along the way defeating two-time CRC champion Dartmouth College and two-time national champion Arkansas State, handing the Red Wolves their first loss in two years. This year, with much of last year’s squad returning, Arizona hopes to build on that success and make their alumni and fans proud. For more information on the program, head to ArizonaRugby.org. For more information on the university, head to Arizona.edu. www.wildcatrugby.org

Head Coach: Sean Duffy
Assistant Coach: Jack Arnold
Manager: Trevor Jensen
Trainer: Dianne Goodridge

Players to Watch
Arizona boasts a talented trio of juniors. Kyle Rogers is a very versatile weapon for the Wildcats. He can play just about every position on the field, can distribute when needed and he can make breaks of his own when the opportunity arises. His rangy frame can present some quandaries for defenders. Dante Weeks is one of the foremost danger men in the competition. His speed is legit, and he’ll be the fastest guy on the field more often than not. He scored five tries in a game as a freshman but endured an injury-plagued sophomore season. This spring, he’s back to form. Ben Joseph is the glue guy. He is a grafter in attack and defense, and he’s got a knack for coming up with plays when needed.

The Scoop
The Wildcats are entering their fourth CRC under head coach Sean Duffy. The first one was forgettable, as the Wildcats underperformed, but in 2015 they returned to the top eight, reaching the semifinals. Last year they reached the semifinals again, bowing out to eventual champion Cal. Arizona looks poised to make another deep run in 2017, with several key players returning and the electric Weeks healthy again. Arizona has good height, good speed and plenty of skillful players, though most of their play makers are pretty lean. They could run into trouble when facing a more powerful opponent that can challenge in the breakdowns.

No matches