David vs. Goliath Showdown to Take Place at Fiesta Bowl Rugby & Balloon Classic
The Arizona State University Men’s Rugby Team is consistently ranked as one of the United States’ top collegiate programs. This year is no different as the squad is ranked highly and is led by rugby veterans. Now, the team is seeking to lead the Sun Devils to one of the most unprecedented college sports upsets ever on Saturday, April 23rd at the Fiesta Bowl Rugby & Balloon Classic at Scottsdale Stadium, where ASU will face the Mexican National Team.
The 2016 ASU Rugby squad is younger than in years past. “Our squad is full of young talent,” said ASU Rugby Head Coach Gary Lane. “Despite this, I am extremely confident in our veteran leaders, who are working diligently to prepare us to upset the Mexican National Team.”
The first ASU Rugby leader preparing his teammates for a battle on April 23rd is openside flanker Bailey Stringer, a 19-year old who has been involved in the sport of rugby since he was five years old. Stringer, who hails from Las Vegas, Nevada, was introduced to his sport by his father, who brought Stringer along to all of his recreational rugby matches. While watching his father play, Stringer fell in love with the fast pace, the competition, and the camaraderie of the sport.
Stringer is excited to lead his teammates into battle against the Mexican National Team at Fiesta Bowl Rugby & Balloon Classic. “It’s not every day that we get to play a national team as an opponent,” said Stringer. “All the guys are excited to put up a fight against Mexico and we know if we put our minds to it we can give them a run for their money.”
Going up against top flight rugby competition is not something unknown to Stringer. While living in Australia, Stringer’s talents on the pitch became well-known. As a young teenager, the ultra-competitive and prestigious Brumbies Rugby Academy U-13 and U-14 squad invited him to join. This experience in the developmental academy only stoked Stringer’s fire for rugby. When his family returned to Las Vegas, he used what he learned in order to excel on the rugby pitch for the Las Vegas Rugby Academy. He was recognized as a Nevada All-State player and as a rugby all-star. At ASU, Coach Lane frequently calls upon Stringer to lead the team and to teach the younger players the nuances of the sport.
The second ASU rugby leader is Matt Brennan, ASU’s team captain and inside centre. Brennan, a 20-year old who calls Lake Forest Park, Washington home, has been playing rugby since he was 12 years old. Rugby runs in his family as his dad pushed him to play and even served as his rugby coach at Shorecrest High School.
Like Stringer, who is Brennan’s roommate, Brennan is excited about the showdown with the Mexican National Rugby Team on April 23rd. “We have a number of lofty goals this season,” said Brennan. “We finished really well last year and we want to continue our success and build on our momentum. We want to beat Oregon State, San Diego State, and the current National Champions, Brigham Young University. Most importantly, we want to play well against the Mexican National Team at the Fiesta Bowl Rugby & Balloon Classic. The guys are ready to give ASU Rugby fans a performance they’ll never forget.”
Brennan has been recognized on numerous occasions for his rugby talents. While in high school, Brennan played for the Washington Boys High School All-Star squad, known as the Loggers. In addition to numerous state accolades, Brennan also competed on the pitch for the United States U-19 squad and as a member of the USA Rugby High School All-Americans (HSAA). While competing for the United States, Brennan had the opportunity to travel the world and play rugby in tournaments in places such as London and Las Vegas.
As ASU Rugby’s spring season is now in full swing, the team is spending more time than ever preparing for the match against Mexico. Practices have been more grueling than ever and the intensity has been ratcheted up a notch in preparation for the challenge that the Mexican National Team presents. Under the guidance of Stringer and Brennan, the squad heads to the ASU Sun Devil Fitness Center after weekday practices in order to lift weights and conduct extra fitness training.
The entire ASU Rugby squad now hopes that all the extra work will pay off as it seeks to pull off “a Miracle on Grass.”
Formedia inquiries about the Fiesta Bowl Rugby & Balloon Classic, or requests to interview ASU Rugby Head Coach Gary Lane or any of the ASU Rugby players,please contact Jennifer Parks at Jparks@RoseMoserAllynPR.com or by phone at 480.495.3806.