WILDCATS SET FOR 2023 KICKOFF
Abe Turpen and the Wildcats will look to take the next step this Spring. (Photo credits: Alex Ho)
Jan 17- Arizona announced their 2023 schedule today as the Wildcats kick things off this coming Saturday in Tucson.
The biggest change from the past will start this coming weekend as Arizona plays a series of two preseason matches against New Mexico and Cal State-Long Beach. “This is something we’ve wanted to do the past few years, and we’re thankful to both UNM and Long Beach for embracing the spirit of playing more Rugby with an eye on adding these teams as long-term regular season opponents” said Director of Rugby Sean Duffy who enters his ninth season at the helm.
After the preseason concludes, the Wildcats will formally kick off the regular season against two schools from the Beehive State, starting with their opener February 4th against the University of Utah at William David Sitton Field. The following weekend #8 BYU travels to Tucson for the first time in recent history in a rematch of last season’s playoff match. February concludes with a trip to #4 Cal before a trip to #14 UCLA heading in to Spring Break.
2023 will also mark year two for the Arizona Rugby broadcast network. Year one was a wild success, with over 2,000 viewers/game tuning in from 48 states and 27 countries. In addition, the Wildcats set a regular season attendance record at Sitton Field, with hundreds of fans turning up to embrace the sport that started on campus in 1969.
The Wildcats will also welcome a new opponent in March in their final regular season home match as they host #11 Colorado. “Always exciting for the team and the boys to add a new opponent, and Coach Hanson has done a great job building things up at CU. It will be a great series for us and a good weekend to bring back some legends to campus” said Duffy. The Rugby Weekend will coincide with the match against the Buffs, as scores of alumni descend upon Tucson in the annual celebration of the program’s 54th season. March will also feature trips to #13 UCLA and #9 Central Washington, continuing Arizona's tough scheduling to test themselves against the nation's best. The D1A postseason is set to begin April 8th, with this year’s squad hoping to take the next step after finishing last year in the first round.
“Every year is different, but we’ve made a number of changes to our program that we think will put us in the best position possible to keep moving up the ladder. In order to do that, we must play a challenging schedule. We have five nationally ranked sides lined up, so there will be no question of 'what if'. We can’t wait to get started” said Duffy. The Wildcats enter the season ranked #13 nationally, and have recently concluded their Winter Camp preparations with a strong group of returners and fresh faces ready to go for the preseason opener this Saturday.
For the Wildcats’ full schedule, click here.