Saturday, May 7, 2016

DI-A Final Preview & Prediction

It's Life and St. Mary's for the fourth consecutive year in the DI-A final. After Life won the first finals meeting between the two teams back in 2013 it's been all St. Mary's with wins in 2014 and 2015. That will certainly grate on Life as they also have to deal with the match being played on the home pitch of St. Mary's this year. The match is at 6:00 p.m. et/3:00 p.m. pt and can be see on The Rugby Channel.

Life and St. Mary's have yo-yo'd as the top two teams in the Canterbury Di-A Rankings this year. St. Mary's held the top spot for a long time before some results against Cal and BYU pushed them back. Life are number two in our College Top Ten while St. Mary's clock in at fourth. Despite where they land in the rankings this match is expected to be close. With so much history between the two sides and a load of good players the match is expected to be a tough match defensively but one in which there could be an offensive explosion.

Take the jump to read more.
As much as it's possible Life have flown under the radar this year. Unlike teams out West they started their season a little later than others. The other thing that has seen them lack the same attention as other teams is that due to geography they weren't always able to play top teams. They did get in matches against Clemson and Navy but that's not the same level as some of the teams out West. However, when Life did get to go up against very good teams like Lindenwood and Davenport they excelled. As the season moved along Life continued to get better and they racked up big wins. Both Davenport and Lindenwood did have close results against the Running Eagles but when it counted Life came up big.

St. Mary's by their standards have had their struggles but at the same time have dominated teams this year. They will be disappointed to have lost to BYU twice and Cal. That said, one of their losses to BYU was by only a point and the other loss came when they had to play Utah a couple days prior and had travel delays. The loss against Cal was close as well and St. Mary's arguably should have done better in the match. Outside those matches the Gaels have been dominant. Additionally, they have beaten almost all of their opponents by big margins.

Each team has a solid group of players. For St. Mary's it's about Dylan Audsley who may be the best player in college rugby. He's accurate with his boot and he does so many things well. Other players on St. Mary's to keep your eye on include Viliami Helu, Dino Waldren, and Kevin O'Connor. Life has changed over a number players from last year's team but new players have stepped up. Cody Melphy in particular has come on strong as of late while Harley Davidson is playing very well.

This is truly a toss-up match. On paper St. Mary's have a few more advantages than Life. Playing at home is going to be a big plus and having championship experience helps. In the end we think it comes down to the play of Audsley who should make his mark and deliver a third title.

This weekend's DI-A coverage is brought to you by Canterbury USA!
St. Mary's

Forwards: Peter Walden, Ethan Waller, Dino Waldren, Henry Hall, Michael Tillson, Kevin O'Connor, Alec Barton, Viliami Helu

Backs: Chris McDonnell, Michael McCarthy, Charlie Loudon, Aaron Matthews, Dylan Audsley, Tommy Wallace, Nicholas Schobohm

Bench: Dante DiMario, Marcus Viscardi, Cory Kroeger, Austen Middleton, Michael Garrett, Jack Carso, Wesley Chock, Bradley Roberts


Forwards: Estevan Florez, Zach Warren, Alex Maughan, Jason Riekena, Donovan Norpglet, Sebastien Banos, Mike Islava, Maciu Koroi

Backs: Cody Melphy, Harley Wheeler, Harley Davidson, Zander Van Schalkwyk, Conner Mooneyham, Mitchell Wilson

Bench: Collin Smith, James Ferrante, Carson McCraw, Devin Faletto, Kevin Lynch, Duncan Van Schalkwyk, Sam Cowley, Adam Shokair

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