This weekend in D1A play there are a couple of key match ups that will have an impact on the Top 20 Rankings. The weekend kicks off on Friday night with Grand Canyon University playing host to #13 Arizona. In what is shaping up to be a tightly contested game Grand Canyon will want to send a major message to the rest of the D1A competition by claiming Arizona’s scalp. Grand Canyon have already recorded one big win in the 2017-2018 season by beating the University of New Mexico 103-0.
Arizona, who are coming into the game after amassing an impressive preseason, will be hoping to build off the platform that was built in the fall. In the fall, they were able to secure the PAC 7s title as well as finishing 2nd in the Collegiate Rugby Fall Classic. This will be Arizona’s first 15s game of the season, and will serve as a good tune up before they head into conference play on the 3rd of February against UCLA, where they will hope to add the 15s conference title to the trophy cabinet.
The other game this weekend sees #1 St. Mary’s open California Conference play against Santa Clara on Saturday. St. Mary’s is coming off the back of a strong showing last weekend where they were able to handle #18 Central Washington with ease, scoring over 70 points. This weekend against Santa Clara should be no different, as the Gaels have been able to score over 90 points each of the last three outings they’ve had against Santa Clara.
Santa Clara, have had a quiet preseason leading up to their conference opener, having played only two games and suffering a loss in both. One of the games that they played was a scrimmage against St. Mary’s, where they went down 50-0. The lessons learned from that game will undoubtedly play a factor in the team’s build up to this weekend’s fixture.