2021 schedule: first half of season set
Brendon Paulsen and the Wildcats look forward to finally getting underway in two weeks. (Photo credits: Alex Ho)
March 8- Almost a year after their season was cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Wildcats announced the first half of their 2021 schedule today.
The Wildcats' slate of matches features many of their typical opponents along with the addition of Air Force for an intriguing non-conference clash. Arizona will kick off their 52nd season with a primetime opener against #18 Grand Canyon University at William David Sitton Field on Friday, March 19th. Sandwiched in between their two matches with the Lopes is a trip to Ellensburg to take on #6 Central Washington in a rematch of last year's thriller. Following the April 10 bye weekend, Arizona will welcome #9 BYU and Air Force to Tucson to finish the month of April.
Missing from the calendar right now are PAC-12 opponents Cal, UCLA, and Utah who the Wildcats hope to add to the second half of their schedule when conditions allow. D1A Playoffs, typically set for the last weekends of April are set to commence in April and May. Reserve grade matches will feature each weekend that they are available, with additional games set to be added in the near future.
"We are beyond grateful to the university, campus health, and campus recreation for allowing us the opportunity to play this season" said Director of Rugby Sean Duffy. "Without them, this does not happen. I am also thankful for the buy-in from our athletes and coaches to the protocols that have allowed us to stay safe, stay ready, and demonstrate our ability to compete in these precarious times. With respect to Cal, UCLA, and Utah, we are in constant contact with each of their administrations and we look forward to adding them to our calendar if possible for 2021 and beyond."
Arizona is in a formidable position heading in to 2021 despite the obstacles of COVID-19, welcoming back a large group of returners from the side that sat at #10 in the nation prior to the shut down. Led by Captain Riley Kerr and Vice Captain Jon Rogers, the side has completed a rigorous preseason, all while testing regularly and following both university and county guidelines on return to play. Bolstering this talent is a strong 2020 recruiting class that looks to make an early impact. Information on fan attendance policies, broadcast, and other details will be released when it comes available.