Arizona rugby wins first game after Sitton
On Friday, Arizona men’s rugby won the first game in the post-Dave Sitton era.
The Wildcats (1-2-1) beat No. 16 Air Force 25-19 at home to secure new head coach Sean Duffy’s first win.
Duffy took over for Sitton, who led the UA’s men’s rugby team for nearly 40 years.
“Dave Sitton laid down a great foundation and I want to put together a program that he would be proud of,” Duffy said.
The University of Arizona's Women's Rugby team practices at Cherry Avenue Field on Thursday. The team won 40-7 against UCLA on Sunday.
Sitton died unexpectedly on Aug. 12.
The Wildcats tied their first game of the season 26-26 at ASU on Dec. 17. Then Arizona lost 76-10 at No. 6 Saint Mary’s College on Jan. 17 in the home opener, and 17-7 to Utah in Las Vegas on Jan. 24.
Captain and senior number eight Trevor Laue said the Wildcats have embraced Duffy and his style of coaching.
“It is a step up in intensity level and that will take our team to the next level,” Laue said. “It has been a smooth transition.”
The UA’s next home game will be against No. 2 California on March 2 at 2 p.m. at the Rincon Vista Sports Complex.
“Cal will probably be our toughest opponent this season,” Laue said.
Two Wildcats, prop Brett Thompson and center Ryan Matyas, are sitting out the season to play for the U.S. National Team in the IRB Sevens World Series. The next competition for the Eagles is the Tokyo Sevens on Mar. 22-23.
Women’s rugby bounces back
On Sunday, Arizona women’s rugby snapped a two-game losing streak and got revenge against UCLA.
The Wildcats lost both games on a road trip to California, 28-7 at UCLA on Feb. 8 and 60-7 at UCSD on Feb. 9, but rebounded on Sunday to beat UCLA 40-7.
Head coach Richard Wortman said he is looking forward to the team’s second season as a Division I team.
“I am hoping with the training and conditioning we have been doing since last season, to make the PMRC, Pacific Mountain Rugby Conference playoffs in April,” Wortman said.
Arizona earned a 28-17 win over ASU at home on Feb. 1.
The ruggers’ next home game will be against UCSD.
“UCSD will be a tough challenge. Possibly we can come away with a win,” Wortman said. “The team will need to play with a lot of heart.”
The game against UCSD will be Feb. 23 at 11 a.m. at the Rincon Vista Sports Complex.
—Follow Daniela Vizcarra @dvizcarra_dw