BOULDER (3/15/11) - The No. 22 University of Colorado men's rugby team is preparing for their biggest challenge to date in the new College Premier Division when they play host to the No. 2 Brigham Young Cougars, one of the strongest teams in college rugby, on Thursday at 6 p.m. at Kittredge Field.
The Buffaloes are now at 1-1 in CPD league play, and are fresh off a confidence boosting 29-3 victory over in-state rival Colorado State last week. The CU defense proved its medal in that match, limiting the Ram's to a single 3-point penalty kick. CU associate head coach Jim Snyder said the team's "D" will have to be at its very best again on Thursday to get the upper hand against the Cougars.
"BYU is without a doubt one of the finest programs in the country," Snyder said. "If we play defense like we did last week, we have a shot at beating anybody."
Snyder can also be encouraged with past CU performances against BYU. In the spring of 2008, Colorado beat Brigham Young in a mid-season friendly match. That Colorado team went on to face the Cougars again in the National Semifinals where the Buffs were tripped up in their quest for the National Championship. Last year, CU traveled to Provo to take on the eventual national runner up Cougars, and played a great first half as they only trailed BYU by five points at the break.
The Buffs are also starting to see many of their younger student athletes stepping up to the challenge of the College Premier Division. Sophomore Brendan Cox is currently the team's leading try scorer after adding a pair against CSU in an MVP performance. Freshman Michael Sangaline of Highlands Ranch, Colo., is also performing well for the Buffs after a strong performance at prop against the Rams. This young talent is mixing well with the upper class experience of the Buffs, led by junior Chris Martin, who was another star for CU against Colorado State.
"Cox is really starting to come into his own as an athlete. He's got real pace and light feet that makes him a threat from anywhere on the field. Chris Martin is a true team leader. They both raise the level of the rest of their teammates," Snyder said. "BYU is a very exciting and fast team, and our backs should match up well. It's going to be a heck of a ball game."
Admission is free to Thursday's St. Patrick's Day match. Parking around the field is also free but will be limited due to a basketball game at the Coors Events Center scheduled for the same night.