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The Western Regional for the DII quarterfinals and semifinals will take place at Kino Sports Complex in Tucson, Ariz Saturday and Sunday. Tempe will battle the Sacramento Capitals and the Provo Steelers will take on Little Rock.
The Provo Steelers went 9-3 in conference play before reeling off a pair of wins in the Rocky Mountain playoffs to claim a spot in the final eight. After losing twice to Boulder, the Steelers outmatched the Colorado side 45-17. After a few years away from the big dance, Provo is excited to take on the best in DII.
“We had a big reputation back in the day and we are just trying to rebuild our club,” Provo’s Etuate Lavulavu told Rugby Today. “Our club we have not been going in the right direction the last three years.”
The first challenge will come from the Little Rock Stormers. The Stormers went 9-1 in Red River play with the only loss coming to Tulsa in the end of February. Little Rock has won seven games in a row including a pair of weekend wins in the conference finals. The Stormers defeated the Austin Blacks and HARC to set up a date with Provo.
The other quarterfinal will feature a Sacramento Capitals side that also comes into the round of eight on a winning streak. The Capitals have won eight in a row after starting 2-2 this season. The Capitals beat the Bay Area Baracus and the Portland Pigs in playoff play to reach Tucson.
The Capitals are working their way back to the success that they had eight years ago where they got to the elite eight. After a quality finish nearly a decade ago, the club nearly broke up due to in fighting.
“The club had gone through some turmoil and was down in numbers and we almost lost the club,” said Sacramento coach Mason Gunn.
If the Capitals hope to get past the round of eight this go around, they will have to go through a formidable Tempe squad. The Arizona side has been a mainstay in the DII playoffs for some years. The Devils went 12-0 this season, besting rival Phoenix and then the Huntington Beach Unicorns to make it to the quarterfinals.
“We know they have been there for the last couple of years and ran into Life West like so many other teams including our self did last year. We have players that have friends there in Arizona and we have film and all that good stuff but we respect and expect it to be a tough game,” said Capitals coach Mason Gunn.
The games will be aired live starting Saturday at 10AM PST on USA Rugby TV.