By Ryan Schneider

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Playing at the Austin Invitational this weekend will partially serve as "Daily Affirmation" for the Arizona rugby club.

After barely failing to qualify for the national championship playoffs for the second straight season, the Wildcats (9-5-1) will attempt to defend their tournament title in Texas at an invitational compared with college basketball's NIT.

"This would re-establish a sense of worth," Coach Dave Sitton said. "We're pretty well-regarded around the nation, so it's a big mystery why we're not in the playoffs for a period of 3-4 years."

Sitton said his team will make the best of a frustrating situation. The Wildcats have missed the playoffs by a combined five points in the last two seasons.

"I would think we'd be able to repeat, and I'm looking forward to that," he said. "If we play to our capability and with enthusiasm, we win. If we don't, we're in trouble."

There will be no shortage of enthusiasm for Arizona's junior-varsity squad _ the only JV team invited to attend the Austin Invitational.

"They're on top of the world," Sitton said.

Sitton was quick to point out that the junior-varsity team was invited for a reason. The JV Wildcats (9-1) outscored their opponents 233-40, including six shutouts and a 32-0 pasting of UTEP last weekend.

"They're certainly not going to be embarrassed," Sitton said. "I certainly expect them to win and to give Texas Tech fits."

The junior varsity will play Texas Tech and Texas in its pool while the varsity team will take on Baylor and Houston in its bracket.

Being in two different tournament pools has set the stage for a unique possibility, Sitton said.

"Our dream is to have our side on one bracket and them on the other," he said. "An all-Arizona final would make the rugby pages all over the world." Read Next Article