Two Top-Five Clashes Highlight D1A Weekend

New USA Callup Duncan Van Schalkwyk

Make sure you visit FloRugby at 1PM Central Time on March 31 to see a panel of four unveil the D1A Rugby playoff bracket, and there are plenty of seeding questions to be answered in the coming weeks.

Like this week, for example. This week we see a crucial (for the rankings) cross-country meeting of Top-10 teams as Saint Mary's visits Navy. And we also see what is the Mid-South decider in Life at Lindenwood.

Watch The D1A Bracket Reveal Show LIVE on FloRugby, Available To All Viewers, March 31 at 1PM CT

#1 vs #4

"We're excited to have Saint Mary's come to Navy," said US Naval Academy head coach Gavin Hickie. "It will give as an opportunity to play a different style of oppponent and that's exactly what we need at this stage. The [one-point] loss to Life was tough to take but we've got more work to do with Saint Mary's and Army coming up, so we can't slack off."

Saint Mary's head coach Tim O'Brien takes a strong squad to Navy for an A-side and a B-side match. The Gaels third squad is staying home to play Cal Maritime. The Navy thirds are in action, too.

"I hope this becomes a more regular thing for us and Navy," said O'Brien. "These trips are important, not for winning or losing, but for how it prepares the guys going forward. Our trip to BYU every year is absolutely the most beneficial thing we do. I hope this is the same."

Piecing it all together, both teams are looking strong, with Saint Mary's having rolled through their opposition, including scoring an unheard-of 50 on BYU in Provo. 

#2 vs #5

Life at Lindenwood is also a battle. 

They already faced off in a non-conference game in Marietta, with Life winning a typically tight affair 22-11.

2019 Lindenwood vs Life

Unlock this video, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

"We've evolved since that game," said Life head coach Colton Cariaga. "There are some things in that game we felt we could have capitalized on. I know both teams will have made adjustments which is what makes it such a great rivalry."

Lindenwood head coach Josh Macy agreed, adding that "the hallmark of the Life teams is that they find a way to win. We have to do some things better, and I think in the previous game we didn't value our possession enough. When you're playing a team as dangerous as Life, you have to treat every possession you have with respect."

Two More High-Ranked Games

And that's not all this weekend. The PAC Rugby Conference is decided when Arizona visits Cal. Now, realistically, most would say that Cal will win this, but that's not the whole story for Arizona. If the Wildcats can make it a game, then they do their rankings prospects a lot of good. Aside from University of British Columbia, no team has come within 57 points of the Cal Bears in a full-length 15s game.

(The two closest games were against Cal teams with very young lineups.)

If Arizona scores a couple of tries and comes within 30, they will have achieved something no one else has.

Central Washington has two huge rankings games this week, with tonight's clash with BYU the first of a two-game weekend that sees the Wildcats face off with Utah Valley in a rematch of last week's meeting in Ellensburg. 

This trip is important for all of the teams involved. While BYU is guaranteed a D1A playoff spot as a conference champion, where the Cougars fall in the rankings could dictate who they face in the quarterfinals. Central, meanwhile, has been battling through an independent schedule that has suffered three cancelations. 

The Wildcats need these games to prove they belong in a higher seed. A win in Provo would go a long way to achieving that. 

And Utah Valley is on the cusp; the Wolverines need to do well to hang onto a playoff spot. UC Davis, which finished off its regular season last week with a somewhat disappointing loss to Grand Canyon, is in that 8th Western spot at the moment, and UVU would have to wrest it from the Aggies.

The matchups (with D1A's official rankings in parentheses)

AwayatHomeOur Picks
Saint Mary's (1)atNavy (4)Saint Mary's by 7
Life (2)atLindenwood (5)Life by 3
Arizona (10)atCal (3)Cal by 25
Central Washington (11)atBYU (8)BYU 6
Central Washington (11)atUtah Valley *CWU by 25

*-UVU is no longer in the D1A Top 20, but is ranked #24 by FloRugby.

Q&A With AJ MacGinty: Eagles, MLR, Life, And More

De-AJ-a Vu: MacGinty Does It Twice

It's been a somewhat roundabout path for Eagles playmaker AJ MacGinty and his ascension into one of the northern hemisphere's best flyhalves. 

New Zealand Wins Super Series, France Makes A Statement


Unlock this video, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

After two-and-a-half week tournament that had everything—upsets, blowouts, nailbiters, big hits, fine skills—it's the Black Ferns who ultimately come out on top after defeating England 28-13 in the Super Series finale; meanwhile, France closed out its campaign with a demolition of the Eagles, laying down a 53-14 win over the Americans. 

NOLA, ARPTC Rise To The Occasion At Hell Or High Water 7s

New Orleans and ARPTC took the honors at a key sevens qualifier in the Red River region over the weekend.

England Teams Get Great Britain Rugby Into Olympics

The men's and women's teams from Great Britain are the latest to confirm their places in the rugby competitions at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games after both England teams won the Rugby Europe regional qualifiers in France and Russia, respectively, Sunday.

France Ready To Face USA Sunday


France and the USA are set to face off Sunday in the final day of the 2019 Women's Super Series.

Q&A With USA Rugby's Mark Griffin

Mark Griffin Talks EY And USA Rugby

FloRugby caught up with USA Rugby Chief Commercial Officer Mark Griffin to talk about the new USA Rugby partnership with EY in the wake of the two organizations’ announcement about the deal.

England, New Zealand Name Lineups For Super Series Decide

Kendra Cocksedge Drives The Black Ferns Train

New Zealand and England have named their lineups for the Women's Super Series clincher Sunday in San Diego, CA.

USA Prepares For Super Series Finale

Stacey Bridges: Offload Master

USA Women's National Team head coach Rob Cain has named his lineup to take on World #4 France in the final weekend of the Women's Super Series.

USA Rugby, EY Finalize Research And Strategic Partnership

(USA Rugby Release) LAFAYETTE, CO – In April, USA Rugby and EY announced a new partnership where the global leader in advisory services would become principal partner to the National Governing Body (NGB). As part of the partnership, EY will provide consulting services to USA Rugby during this transformational period with the goal of developing an organizational strategic plan. A primary focus of the partnership will be the overall digital strategy within USA Rugby, with the goal of growing participation and rugby fan base through a digitally enabled method. In turn, leveraging increased business opportunities for the organization.

Perennial Powers Chase Newcomers In Midwest

The Midwest qualification process is different than the rest of the country, and that changes attitudes and strategies heading into the third qualifier.