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Confident ‘Cats back in rugby playoffs

Lee Masten

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Rugby players J.P. McKinley and Charlie Brennan hope to continue the team's long-running winning streak. Photo credit: Lee Masten

The 2014 Chico State rugby team move into the playoffs for the second consecutive year.

The defending 2013 Pacific West Rugby Conference champions are currently 5-1 and are at it again to earn the title of the Best of the West.

It hasn’t been an easy road for the team, as the opponent on the pitch isn’t the only foe Chico State has to deal with.

“Everyone is always struggling through some sort of pain during the season,” said junior Charlie Brennan. “But, every game we have to push through in order to help the team, and the adrenaline and excitement gets you through to the end.”

As a junior, the best is still ahead of Brennan as the Wildcats have begun to build a strong core of players, he said.

“For about the last three years we’ve had most of the same players and starters,” Brennan said. “It’s great to get that continuity and make everything better.”

The team is the defending Pacific West champion and currently has just one loss in the past two seasons. Each win has been by double digits.

Not getting cocky is important, said junior J.P. McKinley.

“There can be a thin line between confidence and cockiness,” McKinley said. “We know we are a good team, so it’s important for us to be modest while also playing with great confidence. After going undefeated last year, it was important for us to recognize that.”

Head coach Lucas Bradbury and assistant coach Beau McSwain are able to put their players in a position to succeed.

“They’re able to get the best out of us,” McKinley said. “They push us to our limits and we have had great success with them.”

Chico State rugby isn’t just a seasonal sport. The players and coaches are out on the pitch at every chance to improve and bring another championship back to Chico.

“We work really hard throughout the year,” Brennan said. “We expect a lot of great things in the future and hope to get all the way to the top.”

Stanford has been the team’s only loss this season and the ‘Cats hope to get some revenge later in the postseason. First, the team will have to get through San Francisco State this Saturday at home.

“It’s great to see all of our hard work paying off with success,” McKinley said. “We know what it takes and we have great players that will get us places.”

Lee Masten can be reached at [email protected] or @lee23masten on Twitter

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Confident ‘Cats back in rugby playoffs