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Rugby in D.C. for Sweet 16


Gavin Stevens
Arizona Daily Wildcat

Senior Rob Colville fights for the ball during a game this season. The Arizona rugby team heads to Tempe this weekend for their last regular season game against

By Maxx Wolfson
Arizona Daily Wildcat,
April 14, 2000
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Wildcats face Wyoming after capturing SoCal conference

The Arizona rugby team will take on Wyoming in college Rugby's version of the "Sweet 16" in Annapolis, Md. tomorrow.

Although the team is excited about the chance to face the nation's elite, they wish the game was closer to home.

"I like the competition of the Sweet 16 style tournament, but I do not like the regions," head coach Dave Sitton said. "I think there should be two different regions, two west of the Mississippi and two east of the Mississippi."

The Wildcats (9-4 overall, 7-1 in the SoCal Conference), won their conference for the second consecutive year, thus receiving an automatic berth in the tournament.

The winner between the Arizona-Wyoming game will move onto the quarterfinals on Saturday night. The winner of that contest will play in Tampa, Fla. May 6 and 7 in the semi-finals

Last season, the Wildcats (2-0 all-time against Wyoming) beat the Cowboys in the consolation round of the tournament, 38-7.

"Last season's game was a pretty intense game," senior flanker James Kai said. "They should be pretty fired up and try to get back at us."

Junior eight man Ian Gregor agreed that Arizona wanted to make sure their season ended with a victory.

"Last year we kind of played like we wanted to go out winners," Gregor said. "We wanted to go out on a good note."

Arizona has been preparing all week for Wyoming by practicing at the UA football practice field.

"We are just going to be polishing, polishing, polishing in practice," Sitton said. "Also our number one goal is to have no injuries."

Injuries have played a huge factor all season for the Wildcats. The Wildcats should be at full strength, though, having played its March games without most of its starters.

The players who return from injury are senior lock Josh Allen (ankle), Gregor (ankle), junior flyhalf Rodd Penney (hamstring), Kai (shoulder), sophomore fullback David Wood (ankle), and junior lock Mike Bennett (toe).

Senior fullback Chris Kron will also be back in action for the Wildcats. He has been touring the world with the U.S. National Team.

"Should be a great experience," Kai said on playing with a full roster. "Should be nice to see it all gel together."

Today, when the Wildcats arrive in Maryland they will be greeted by U.S. Rep. Jim Kolbe, who will receive the Arizona players at the U.S. Capitol and give them a tour.

"I am excited to see Congressman Kolbe," Sitton said. "We are in his district, and he is a friend of the program. We saw him two years ago."

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