Tempe, Ariz. - For the first time, the Arizona State Sun Devils will face the Notre Dame Fighting Irish on the rugby pitch. No. 15 Arizona State (2-2) will face Notre Dame (0-0) in the inaugural Nash Cup Match on Tuesday, March 12. The game kicks off at ASU Soccer Stadium at 7 pm.
The Fighting Irish are coming into the game fresh and ready to start their season. They played an exhibition match with the Chicago Lions, but have yet to play an official match on the year, however they will have already met the University of Arizona on Saturday by the time they meet Arizona State.
After playing in Tucson, Notre Dame will travel north, to face the Sun Devils of Arizona State. They will then return home to play four more games to finish out the regular season. The Irish are also slated to play California in the opener of the Varsity Cup starting April 20.
“We are extremely excited to start a new home and away series with Notre Dame,” said Arizona State head coach Gary Lane.
The last time the two teams met was in the USA 7s Collegiate Rugby Championship bowl semifinal game in 2010, which Arizona State won by two tries.
The Arizona State rugby team is coming into the game needing a win to stay above .500 on the season. The Sun Devils lost to Utah in Salt Lake City 36-11. The loss was costly, dropping Arizona State to 0-2 in PAC Conference play.
“It was a tough loss, the conditions were less than ideal, but we have to take all the positives from the game and play them for 80 minutes on Tuesday,” said Lane
As usual the backs will be anchored by Adam Sanstrom, Sione Letoi and Ryan Spiwak, whilst the forwards will be led by Eric Rygiel and Xavier Torres
The Nash Cup was created to remember one of Arizona State’s fallen players. Ryan Nash played for the Sun Devils from 2003-2006. He played lock for the Sun Devils all through that period and was on the unbeaten Sun Devil squad that toured Australia in 2005, scoring a game winning try against Coffs Harbour on that tour. Ryan died in August 2012 and the Sun Devils have dedicated this season to his memory.