SANTA CLARA PREVIEW: WILDCATS AND BRONCOS SET TO OPEN 2017 IN TUCSON

 

#17 Arizona vs Santa Clara

Saturday January 14

William David Sitton Field

12:30 PM

 

 

 

 

Kyle Rogers and the Wildcats are ready to get the 2017 season underway at Sitton Field.

Jan 13- Arizona kicks off their regular season tomorrow as they welcome Santa Clara to William David Sitton Field in the opener for both teams. The 17th-ranked Wildcats have named their side, with Flyhalf Kyle Rogers captaining last year's national quarterfinalists against the Broncos. 

 

Rogers is joined in the leadership by Sean Coleman, with the 2016 USA Under-20 serving as Vice Captain and pairing with Zach Knobbe-Hewitt at Lock. In the front row, Chaz Huntsman, Zach Biggs, and Kurt Vecchio make up an athletic, smart trio. The back row for the Wildcats will feature two mainstays from last year, Mark Shively Award Winner Tyler Hansen at Number Eight and fellow standout Ryan Fitzpatrick. They are joined by one of the bright new faces in the program from the Fall, Flanker Ben Scoular. "This is a Forwards group with something to prove," said Head Coach Sean Duffy "they have really come together in the past few days and we're seeing guys like Sean and Tyler take that next step both as players and leaders."

 

In the backs, Rogers pairs with his brother Matt Rogers in the halfbacks and last year's center combo of Shane Dempsey and Ben Joseph return to the lineup. On the outside, Jeremy Fleet, Jack San Pietro, and Ryan Hudson fill out the backline. Hudson makes his first career start after a smashing preseason which saw him emerge as a major contributor for the Sevens program. "Returning everyone from last year's backline is a major plus for us, and seeing the emergence of guys like Ryan this Fall gets everyone excited about their potential" said Coach Duffy. 

 

In the reserves, a number of players are ready if called upon, starting in the Forwards where Jake Hedge, Cody Hunt, Charlie Platt, and Carter Harris provide cover. In the backline, Kristian Sanchez, Luke Thayer, Lou MacLaughlin, and Adam Wilson make the 23-man roster for the opener.

 

For the Wildcats, the opener marks the culmination of their preseason and the start of a much anticipated year. While they will be missing a few players to injury and Lock Bronson Teles to USA Under-20s camp, they return roughly 90% of the team that finished in the national quarterfinal last season and reached the cup semifinal of the Collegiate Rugby Championship. Saturday's match will be the first clash between the teams since 2015, when the Wildcats defeated Santa Clara 55-5. 

 

Admission for the opener is $7, with additional great matchups coming up this year at home at Sitton Field. Arizona Second XV will follow the varsity with their season opener at 2:30 PM.

 

 

Santa Clara Lineup (click for bio)

1. Chaz Huntsman

2. Zach Biggs

3. Kurt Vecchio

4. Sean Coleman

5. Zach Knobbe-Hewitt

6. Ben Scoular

7. Ryan Fitzpatrick

8. Tyler Hansen

9. Matt Rogers

10. Kyle Rogers (C)

11. Jeremy Fleet

12. Shane Dempsey

13. Ben Joseph

14. Ryan Hudson

15. Jack San Pietro

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16. Jake Hedge

17. Cody Hunt

18. Charlie Platt

19. Carter Harris

20. Kristian Sanchez

21. Luke Thayer

22. Lou MacLaughlin

23. Adam Wilson

 

 

 

 

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